By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Blair joins Carlton police

Blair spent six years working as a corrections technician with the Yamhill County Juvenile Department before being hired in Carlton. New to police work, he will spend his first several months in field training with Chief Kevin Martinez and Officer Robert Anderson.

He will attend the Oregon Bureau of Police Safety Standards and Training in the fall. He said his plan is to finish at the top of his class.

“The chief and Officer Anderson have such a vast knowledge of this job,” he said. He noted Anderson has been an instructor at the BPSST academy, and “really knows how to teach.”

Blair, 28, said he has a longtime interest in law enforcement. Being a police officer is a way to help others, as well as fulfill his goals and interests, he said.

“It’s going well,” he said. “I’m really enjoying the job.”

He said he’s already learned a lot in his first weeks with the department. He is becoming more familiar with the nuances of state statutes, Carlton ordinances and techniques for working with a wide range of people.

Blair is a firm believer in community policing, the style of law enforcement used in Carlton. It’s important for residents and police to get to know one another and work together to prevent, deter and solve crime, he said.

“I enjoy meeting the people and getting to know the community,” he said. “I like being able to smile and laugh with them, although of course there are also times to be serious.”

The new officer grew up in Lebanon, the same Willamette Valley city in which Martinez spent most of his career before coming to Carlton in 2012. Blair said he heard of his future boss there, but doesn’t think they met until recently, while he was working for Yamhill County Corrections.

He mentioned his interest in police work, and was pleased when Martinez encouraged him to apply for the Carlton job.

Blair is well-known regionally as a blues musician. Since his teens, he has performed professionally at events such as the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and many other venues.

When he was hired, the city agreed to a schedule that would allow him to fulfill several previous obligations — concerts he already had booked with the Jake Blair Band.

“I’m still playing music, I’m happy to say,” said Blair, who took a break from performing a few years ago after the birth of his son, now 6.

“No matter what my career is, I’ve found that music always has a place. With police work, now I have a great balance.”

He and his wife, fellow musician Melody Guy, live in McMinnville.

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