Conservators of the Peace

Message from the President

Brian Wolfe, OSSA President & Malheur County Sheriff

September 2016 — became involved with the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA) in December of 1997. At that time I was the undersheriff of Malheur County. I quickly learned the value and importance of this great organization.

The reasons to be involved are many, but I believe the most important reason for all Oregon Sheriffs to be involved is leadership. By leadership, I’m not referring to the officers of the Association but rather the leadership that each sheriff provides within their respective counties that then reaches all counties of Oregon through the Association.

We know that we all can make mistakes. We also know that the office of sheriff exists in each county of the state; however, how each sheriff and their respective deputies apply the law and serve the public may vary from county to county. An issue that appears to be controversial in Malheur County may not even be an issue in Washington County. It is important that we understand this so that we can make good sound decisions for the greater good of Oregon Sheriffs.

The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association has experienced many changes over the past few years. Changing with the times is a necessity, and most of the changes have been very positive. Ten years ago no one would have imagined that the Association would be where it is today. The vehicle for these positive changes to come about has been great leaders, open discussion and then a united front.

While looking at the past and present with an eye on success, it is very important that true leadership is demonstrated by planning for the future.

2017 Oregon Sheriffs’ Annual Conference

Countdown to Conference


Message from the OSSA President

washington-pat-garrettAs the newly elected president, I am honored to represent all 36 Oregon sheriffs.

The sheriff has historically been the chief executive officer of the county, and this is still true under Oregon law. Elected by you and answering directly to the voters, your sheriff can be an effective voice of the people in the serious work of protecting the community. OSSA enables us to work together to serve you best.

By way of introduction, I am in my second term as the Washington County Sheriff, where deputies serve over a half million residents across 727 square miles of rural areas, urban communities, and cities. Our deputies also operate the only county jail. While Oregon counties are diverse in terms of climate, population, and economic drivers, your sheriffs work together to solve problems and challenges that we have in common.

The sheriffs of America have always played a significant role in the history of our nation; in fact, the office of Sheriff was the first county office established in the United States. Also, the first person to read the Declaration of Independence publicly was Philadelphia Sheriff John Nixon in Pennsylvania in 1776.

I look forward to working together to strengthen the office of Sheriff and the communities we proudly serve. Thank you for your continued support of the men and women on shift every day to keep our diverse and proud communities safe.


Pat Garrett
President and Washington County Sheriff.

Jail vs. Prison … What’s the Difference?

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