Jackson Co. Sheriff explains why he’s stepping down

Update (12-27-16 6:50 .m.) – The Jackson County Board of Commissioners has issued a response to allegations Sheriff Corey Falls made during a press conference on Tuesday.

The commissioners said in December 2015, Falls made a complaint regarding discrimination and harassment.

An outside investigator was hired to look into the claims, according to commissioners.

The commissioners said in part, “The investigation resulted in a preliminary report and conclusion that Sheriff Falls had not been discriminated against or harassed, and made some recommendations for moving forward. Prior to the completion and issuance of the investigatory report, Sheriff Falls withdrew his complaint and stated that the investigation into his allegations need not be completed.”

You can read the full release HERE.

Medford, Ore. — Jackson County Sheriff Corey Falls opened up about his reason for leaving the county during a press conference on Tuesday—and he made some pointed comments toward Jackson County officials.

Sheriff Falls announced last month he is leaving the County for a position with Gresham police at the end of the year.

During the press conference, Falls acknowledged he’s received support after he was elected from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Employee Association and his deputies, but he said Jackson County officials were not so supportive.

During the conference, Falls said he owed it to the community to explain why he is stepping down after just two years in office.

“If you look at it in a push-pull type of context, there’s a lot of things pulling me to Gresham,” said Sheriff Falls. “I’ve been offered a great opportunity up there—yes I have family up there, my daughter goes to college up there.”

Falls said there are some things “pushing” him away from Jackson County—things the public needs to know.

“It was made very clear to me–even before I started–after I won the election, and within my first maybe couple of weeks, that the county did not hire me. That was really clear,” Falls said with a laugh.

Falls said he felt was treated differently and unfairly by county officials from the beginning. He directly named County Administrator Danny Jordan, Assistant County Administrator Harvey Bragg, Dick Rudisile and Craig Morris with the budget committee. Falls commented, “The relationships just weren’t there.”

According to Sheriff Falls, he experienced several micro-aggressions, derogatory comments, demeaning behavior and bullying. He said it was embarrassing and humiliating.

Sheriff Falls pointed to a specific case where he saw a racially-charged social media post that was directed toward him. When he approached county human resources to address the issue, he said he learned “elected officials don’t have H.R. protection.” Falls said as an elected official, he’s in a role where those types of acts could continue.

When asked whether he had anything to say to voters who elected him, Falls replied, “I think to some extent I owe them an apology. You know, I think publicly I need to say, ‘Sorry that it didn’t work out.’ Uh, I think—without getting too emotional, that’s it right there.”

Falls also addressed the process to replace him. He said simply appointing a chief deputy could be problematic, as the chief deputy’s authority leaves as soon as Sheriff Falls steps down.

He said he’s going to leave that decision up to the county, but he hopes his replacement will maintain the openness and honesty that has been set in place.

Falls did say he was concerned about one candidate being considered, former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters. According to Falls, Commissioner Rick Dyer stated the county needs to give the former sheriff a hard look considering the “problems over the last 12 years.”

Sheriff Falls said he has no idea when a new sheriff will be appointed.

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