By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Grand Ronde Tribal Police gain officer

Sheriff Bob Wolfe has announced four positions are being eliminated, effective July 1. They are held by:

n Patrol deputy Patrick McConnell, 3 1/2 years, who is joining the Grand Ronde force.

n Patrol deputy Martin Powell, 5 1/2 years in addition to 4 1/2 years as a reserve, who is joining the Keizer Police Department.

n Patrol deputy Pete Walker, five years plus a stint in corrections, who is joining the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

n Detective Burney Krauger, 18 years, who is retiring from his post as the department’s lead child abuse investigator — a tremendous loss, Wolfe said.

In addition, the sheriff said, deputy Shane Zook will move from patrol to the jail.

This year’s moves follow the elimination of eight jail positions last year. The holders had been with the department as long as 18 years.

“We will be within our budget,” Wolfe said, adding, “Unlike last year, I did not need to call employees into my office and tell them they were no longer going to be employed.

“The reduction was necessary as I already knew our employees were looking for work or were being considered by other agencies. I am pleased for these employees and their families that these other agencies have offered them a job.”

However, he said it means the county will have not a single officer on the road during one four-year period in the middle of the night.

What’s more, he said it is not considered safe to respond to high-priority calls without at least two officers. That makes it harder to rally a response.

In Grand Ronde, McConnell joins Chief Alvin LaChance Jr. and Sgt. Jake McKnight as a member of the department. It will officially welcome Ron Wellborn Wednesday, May 1, according to LaChance. He is leaving the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office to work in Grand Ronde.

“We are very concerned about delayed responses and the impact this might have on our citizens,” Wolfe said.

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