|Angela Brandenburg takes over as the new County Sheriff posted on 02/01/2021|
Angela Brandenburg took over as the Clackamas County Sheriff
last month, following the retirement of Craig Roberts after 16 years on the
job. Brandenburg is the 33rd county sheriff since 1845, when William Livingston
Holmes became the first.
Brandenburg has served with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s
Office (CCSO) for 27 years, working up through the ranks from Reserve Deputy to
Undersheriff, while also taking on roles including the Public Information
Officer and as a member of both the Search & Rescue and SWAT Teams. She
also served for five years as the Director of A Safe Place Family Justice
Center and was responsible for leading CCSO’s Domestic Violence Enhanced
Brandenburg, who lives in Molalla, also served nine years in
the Oregon Army National Guard.
Roberts, who joined the CCSO in 1979 as a reserve deputy,
praised Brandenburg in a statement he released upon his retirement.
“Sheriff Brandenburg is taking command of an incredible
operation,” Roberts said in the statement. “I know the Sheriff’s Office will
only further its tradition of excellence under her leadership.”
Former Sheriff Roberts’ full statement is available on the
CCSO website, www.clackamas.us/sheriff/news.
To introduce the new Sheriff to our readers, the Mountain
Times (MT) emailed a series of questions to her, which are presented here:
MT: What has been your experience, both as a member of the
CCSO and as a civilian, when visiting the Mountain?
Sheriff Brandenburg: “Early in my career I did a stint as
CCSO's Public Information Officer, and I also had the honor of working closely
with the Mountain community for several years as a Sheriff’s Office
representative on the Mt. Hood Coalition Against Drug Crime citizen group. This
relationship continued as a Patrol deputy and Sergeant, when I served on the
front lines in the area. During this time, I became familiar with residents'
deep love for their community, as well as their passion to keep it safe. As a
Clackamas County resident, I know we're so fortunate to have Mt. Hood in our
backyard. I love the outdoors and visit the mountain with my family often. I
recognize this community survives in part thanks to visitors like my family.”
MT: You have spent 28 years with the CCSO, why did you
choose this career path and what do you find most rewarding about your work in
Sheriff Brandenburg: “After graduating high school, I joined the
Oregon Army National Guard, following in the footsteps of family members who
enlisted. That marked the beginning of my public service. I joined CCSO as a
Reserve deputy and quickly realized this was the work for me. The ability to
help people who cannot help themselves is absolutely rewarding. I jumped into
full-time law-enforcement work with both feet, and I'm honored to serve my
community each and every day.”
MT: Clackamas County includes urban, suburban and rural
areas throughout a large land territory.
What are the biggest challenges in covering such a diverse
Sheriff Brandenburg: “Although patrol is the most visible part of
our office, we provide many services across the county. We are responsible for
the jail, court security, civil service, investigations and search and rescue,
and we have many special units and partnerships throughout the county. Managing
all of these responsibilities, keeping performance at a high level and meeting
the expectations of our diverse communities is a great challenge.”
MT: Members of the Mountain community have expressed
concerns in the past regarding two subjects in particular: response time after
calling the CCSO and speeders on Hwy. 26.
How can the Sheriff’s Office work toward improving these
issues on the Mountain, and what are the challenges in doing so?
Sheriff Brandenburg: “Highway 26 is the major thoroughfare
on the mountain, and I realize traffic related issues are of concern. 26 is a
state highway, which makes it the jurisdiction of the Oregon State Police. As
you know, their staffing is low at the moment, and they do not provide 24-hour
service. Our deputies supplement in the area by providing patrol services,
traffic and DUII enforcement, and crash response.
One of my priorities is to determine if we're using our
resources effectively and efficiently. To that end we'll be working with an
outside firm to conduct a comprehensive staffing study. We'll be looking at how
we staff our patrol districts, including looking for any areas where service
can be improved.
We're also talking to our Patrol deputies, who know their
districts well and are familiar with areas that are likely to need more
attention. In their available time, those are the areas they generally patrol.
We stop a lot of criminals in the act by using these proactive approaches.
My goal (is) to use the information from this staffing study
to drive our decision making regarding our resource allocations early in my
Editor’s note: The staffing study Sheriff Brandenburg
mentioned was approved and began in early January. It is expected to take up to
15 weeks to complete.
MT: The Search and Rescue efforts have gone through
restructuring in the past year: where do they currently stand and do you have
any other plans for further changes to the structure?
Sheriff Brandenburg: “Year after year, we are seeing a
10-15% increase in the number of searches we conduct. Last year we restructured
and formed Clackamas County Search and Rescue (CSAR), and still work alongside
volunteer organizations such as Portland Mountain Rescue. We have great working
relationships with our partners in the search and rescue community. That's key
in accomplishing SAR missions, which often involve multiple agencies and
organizations working in concert. I will continue to strengthen our
relationships with our partners. This in turn will improve our capabilities to
conduct safe and successful missions.”
MT: Police agencies face so many challenges in this day and
age, what is the biggest challenge for the CCSO?
Sheriff Brandenburg: “Currently the lack of resources to help those
affected by mental-health and addiction issues is one of the biggest
challenges, not only for CCSO but for all our local law-enforcement partners.
The lack of these resources and the recent closure of the Hooper Detox
Stabilization Center means more people are ending up in the jail and the
criminal justice system, where they do not belong. You have to address these
problems at the root, leading with addiction and mental-health services.”
MT: In the past year, there has been a discussion in this
country about police reform and how police interact with people of color. Do
you see any opportunities within the CCSO to make changes along these lines?
Sheriff Brandenburg: “Under my leadership, we will continue
to be dedicated to serving all of our communities. One of my goals includes
engagement with all of our communities by every level of my office – from
deputies on the street to my command staff. What I do know and recognize is
that many communities are fearful of law enforcement, and we have to meet them
where they're at. Together, through open and safe dialogue, we can be more
responsive to their unique needs, promote trust, and make improvements in the
services we deliver.
Another priority of mine is to promote transparency and
officer safety. I’m seeking funds to purchase body-worn cameras for our
personnel. I want the public to better understand our work, and I believe these
cameras will be a helpful tool and critical to transparency.”
By Garth Guibord/MT