Mike Winters’ leadership questioned in county review

Jackson County, Ore.- A review requested by Jackson County after Sheriff Corey Falls filed a complaint of discrimination, appears to question former Sheriff Mike Winters’ leadership.

Winters is one of six candidates vying to fill the Sheriff’s position for the next two years. At a county commissioners meeting Wednesday, he laid out his argument for becoming Sheriff.

“I don’t think there’s anyone better to address it because I stood here for 12 years,” said Winters.

Winters is the only candidate for Sheriff mentioned in the review by the county.

That review includes claims Falls made regarding Winters and his administration, including:

  • Sheriff Winters ordered part of the Jackson County Jail to open during a re-election campaign even though an assessment showed it wasn’t feasible to do so.
  • Sheriff Winters threatened the jobs of command dissenters.
  • The ability to perform background checks was compromised in the effort to open the basement of the jail. As a result some staff weren’t suitable for hire and should have been rejected.
  • Traffic deputies were informed not to enforce DUII as it didn’t generate enough revenue.
  • Criminal traffic citations were cited into Justice Court in order to generate more revenue.

While the authors of the review did not directly address the claims, they do say in a footnote later in the review, Winters’ “…continuation of what he did as an Oregon State trooper without apparent change or personal growth was not in keeping with the needs of an agency of this size nor a community of the size and with the needs of Jackson County.”

The review further states, “Sheriff Winters neglected managerial and leadership issues core to his office, and often promoted based on a ‘Good-Ole-Boy’ network.”

Finally, the authors conclude “Sheriff Winters did not perform the functions deemed to be essential to the position he held.”

NBC5 reached out to Winters via phone, text and email for his response to the review, but he could not be reached.

In his cover letter applying for the Sheriff’s position, he states, “I return humbled. In a citizen’s role, my eyes are wide-open to the changing of times and the current needs of the county, the residents and of our Sheriff’s Office staff.”

In addition, he states he is ready for increased transparency from the Sheriff’s Office.

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