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In our opinion: Svenson will pick up where Crabtree leaves off


The trio of candidates for sheriff are strong, but operations captain better suited to job

When Jack Crabtree retires in December, he will leave behind a sheriff’s office in much better condition than what he adopted when he was first elected a dozen years ago. His replacement’s charge is to, at the very least, sustain that progress, if not make improvements on his own.April 23 editorial

Three candidates, all currently among the cadre of men and women in the employ of the sheriff’s office, are vying to replace Crabtree. The members of the editorial board of the Newberg Graphic believe, after meeting with the trio last week, that Tim Svenson is most capable of filling Crabtree’s shoes.

The decision of the board, made up of six members of the community and two from this newspaper, was not an easy one. Svenson and opponents Tim Casey and Joe Shipley all are strong candidates. They all have extensive experience in law enforcement and have represented the county well.

Svenson, however, stood out for his past management experience, his knowledge of the office, his understanding of the new challenges law enforcement agencies face from tech crimes such as identity theft and online child pornography, and his better administrative skills.

Svenson is a straight talker and it’s been the experience of this newspaper, mirrored by comments from a Newberg School District representative on the editorial board, that he is a good communicator who believes in keeping the public apprised of information, something that has become rare in public safety circles these days.

Of the three, Svenson has the more diverse experience in law enforcement and holds the highest position in the sheriff’s office, that of operations captain. He is responsible for managing the office’s patrol, detectives, Community Response Team, YCINT (Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team), collecting forensic evidence and supervising the county’s dog control program. Since being hired as an intern 14 years ago, he has worked his way up through the ranks, including stints on patrol and at the county jail.

That experience resonated with the board — we believe there’s nothing the job could throw at Svenson that he couldn’t handle.

Svenson’s qualities apparently also appealed to others as his candidacy has received not only Crabtree’s blessing, but also endorsements from other past Yamhill County sheriffs and law enforcement personnel in neighboring counties. The board found that telling.

Despite all of his accomplishments, Svenson appears to be a fairly humble man, an attribute we admire in Crabtree and a welcome change from sheriffs of the past.

The board realizes its decision to endorse Svenson will be an unpopular one given that Casey is a Newberg native and has strong ties to the community. And that’s not to say the board wouldn’t endorse Casey in the future, but it felt at this time that Svenson had better suited experience and a better chance of carrying on Crabtree’s legacy in the sheriff’s office.

The board’s sincere hope is that if Svenson is elected he will name either Casey or Shipley as the new operations captain as we believe either would flourish in that position.