About Sheriff Travis Ash
Sheriff Travis Ash was appointed to the office of Baker County Sheriff on May 1st, 2015, to fulfill retiring Sheriff Mitch Southwick’s term of office. Ash was recommended for the position by Sheriff Southwick and unanimously chosen for the job by Baker County Commissioners after a public interview process. Ash was then elected Sheriff in November 2016 by an overwhelming majority of Baker County voters. Sheriff Ash is a law enforcement veteran with over 20 years of experience.
Sheriff Ash is a 1993 Baker County graduate of Pine Eagle High School in Halfway, Oregon. In 2015, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Oregon University with two minors in Psychology and Biology. He began his law enforcement career in Enterprise, Oregon, as a Cadet with the Oregon State Police and Reserve Deputy for the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office. In 1998, Ash was hired by then Prineville Police Chief Jim Soules as a patrol officer for the City of Prineville Police Department. Ash served the City of Prineville from 1998-2005 in a variety of capacities including: Detective, School Resource Officer, Armorer, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Mounted Patrol Unit, Presidential Security Detail, Central Oregon SWAT/CERT Team, and Field Training Officer. While in Prineville, he was also certified as a Drug Recognition Expert.
In 2005, Sheriff Ash and his wife, Katie, decided to move home to Baker County to raise their two children, and he was hired by Sheriff Southwick as a Patrol Deputy. He has risen through the ranks at the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, serving as Detective, Patrol Sergeant, and Patrol Lieutenant. He has been an instructor for the Reserve Academy and a guest speaker for NRA concealed handgun classes. Sheriff Ash served on the Eastern Oregon Regional SWAT Team and maintains his DRE Certification.
In 2007, Travis Ash and OSP Senior Trooper Chris Hawkins earned national recognition and the Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award for “dedication, perseverance, and investigative effort” in successfully locating 76-year-old Doris Anderson, 13 days after she had been reported missing in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Ash was the first non-OSP recipient of the Award and brings that same dedication, perseverance, investigative effort, and commitment to community partnerships to his current role as Sheriff.
Since taking office Sheriff Ash has re-instituted the Community Corrections Work Crew, increased efficiency through employee cross-training, and added jobs to the Sheriff's Office at no additional cost to Baker County. Ash has standardized his Office’s employee evaluation process and increased training opportunities for professional development of personnel. He maintains a fiscally conservative approach to managing the budget, using grant monies and leveraging resources when available to supplement county funds. Ash has conducted active shooter preparedness training for county employees and drug awareness training for local community members. He represents the Sheriff's Office on the Interagency Major Crime Team and has been Incident Commander on several Search and Rescue Missions. During the past two summers, he successfully coordinated evacuation efforts for three major wildfires in Baker County. In addition to administrative duties, Sheriff Ash takes calls for service, responds to emergencies, is active on the county DRE call-list, and covers shifts when needed.
Sheriff Ash is committed to children and youth in Baker County. Professionally, he has been actively involved in community outreach with area schools as a job shadow and senior project mentor, guest speaker, drug awareness educator, community partner, and emergency preparedness advisor. He is an active parent-volunteer for his children’s schools and other activities. Sheriff Ash serves on the board for New Directions, Baker County’s mental health provider, and is a member of the local Lions Club. He is also an avid outdoorsman and dedicated family man. He and his wife have been married 20 years and have two school-age children.