Conservators of the Peace

The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA) continues to stand with Harney County Sheriff David Ward

Many OSSA member agencies — along with many city police departments and the Oregon State Police — have sent personnel to help Sheriff Ward patrol the community and maintain public safety during this critical time.

We continue to be asked when the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge will end, and which agency will make that decision. We’d like to clarify the jurisdictional situation.

The FBI is in charge of making and implementing plans to end the siege. The FBI has jurisdiction over the armed takeover of the federal buildings in the refuge, as well as any crimes committed therein. Questions about the standoff should addressed by the FBI, which continues to work diligently towards a peaceful solution.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ward and other local law enforcement agencies are directly addressing militia activities outside the wildlife refuge — including the well-chronicled harassment and intimidation of residents, federal employees and law enforcement by militia members and associates.

OSSA stands proud in saying that Sheriff Ward has done a commendable job fulfilling his oath as Sheriff and defending his community. Sheriff Ward has made every effort to peacefully defuse the situation and return normalcy to the residents he serves. He has worked tirelessly with his fellow law enforcement partners to develop strategies to protect and serve Harney County while the FBI continues its investigation.

OSSA and its law enforcement partners will continue to offer support to Sheriff Ward and his team until this situation is resolved. We couldn’t be prouder of the work he has done to serve Harney County and Oregon.

Harney Press Release #2

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?

Become a Member of the OSSA

Join your Sheriff in the fight against crimeby becoming an OSSA member today. Join Now!