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Dinner and auction raise money for police K-9 program

MELROSE — Visitors to the sixth annual K-9s in the Grapevines event Saturday night at Melrose Vineyards watched police K-9s chase down “suspects” fleeing from police and then hanging on until police officers gave the command to let go.

The event raised about $10,000 to help pay for a second patrol dog for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and retrofitting the police vehicle where the dog would ride.

The demonstration included a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office K-9 dog chasing down a deputy dressed in padded gear in a simulation of apprehending a suspect.

The fundraiser included a dinner and silent auction. About 115 people from the community attended the event.

“Everyone here is like-minded. They respect the police, they respect the dogs and want to help people feel safe,” said Rosemarie Wess, committee chair for the Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K9 Programs.

Some of the police K-9 handlers from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg police and Winston police agencies demonstrated different skills from their dogs, including pursuing suspects and searching for illegal drugs.

Sgt. Jon Dorland of the sheriff’s office worked with K-9 Grim for more than five years, and the value of the dog, he said, is immense.

“It was great. A lot of the captures he got would be people running from houses in burglaries or traffic-stop pursuits where they would run,” Dorland said. “A vast majority of the time we would not have caught the people if we did not have a dog. They are an amazing tool for the department.”

Dorland said many times they would go to the door of a house being burglarized and make an announcement that the dog would be let loose if they didn’t surrender.

“The bad guy would say, ‘Nope, I don’t want anything to do with the dog,’ and he would give up,” Dorland said.

The Winston Police Department has had Buster, a 2-year-old Springer Spaniel for just over a year. Buster was purchased by Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K9 Programs.

“He’s a drug detection dog and he’s been working great for not only our agency but all the surrounding agencies,” said Sgt. Ralph Stiffler of the Winston Police Department. “The impact that he’s had has just been huge, not only to our community but to the county in general.”

Roseburg police officers Chris Bonebrake, Blake Cordell and Cameron Derrick, showed off their dogs, Axel, Nike and Trapper. Oscar Rosas from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office brought his patrol dog, Grim, and they performed exercises to explain how the dogs are used in police activities.

Wess said a couple from the community graciously purchased the new dog for the sheriff’s office, which cost more than $12,000. So the mission of the Friends was to replace that amount and help offset the costs of purchasing the dog and equipment.

“We hold these kinds of events to replenish those funds so that we always have funds available for any of the agencies that need the money,” she said.

Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K-9 Programs is a committee of about seven community volunteers formed to provide charitable economic support to local police dog programs.

Dan Loomis first to enter race for Douglas County clerk

Dan Loomis, an Army veteran and former Douglas County commissioner candidate, is the first person to file to run for Douglas County clerk in 2020.

Patricia Hitt recently announced she would step down from her post in September. The Douglas County commissioners plan to appoint an interim replacement who will serve until the winner of the 2020 election takes office.

Loomis said he has also applied for the interim post. The clerk’s job isn’t the most popular, he said, but it is one of the most important. The clerk oversees county elections and vital records.

“I just want to serve the county. I want to ensure the election integrity. I want to make sure that it’s easier than ever for people to create and access records at the clerk’s office,” Loomis said.

Loomis ran for Douglas County commissioner in 2018, but dropped out of the race and endorsed Tom Kress, who went on to win the seat.

Loomis, an Umpqua resident, currently serves on the Douglas County Parks Advisory Board and is chairman of the Douglas County Veterans Service Office Advisory Committee.

He is employed as a workforce development manager at Umpqua Economic Development Partnership.

“Last year, when I ran for commissioner, of course the one issue that seems to be most important to everyone for the county was economic development. So I actually put my words to work and actually joined an organization that’s working in economic development,” Loomis said.

He said he thinks it will take someone with grit to handle the clerk position.

Loomis is an Army combat veteran who served as an aircraft mechanic and rose through the ranks to become a chief warrant officer. He has also been a government aircraft accident investigator.

“The career field I was in in the military, it was required to be a jack of all trades and be able to accomplish anything that was put in front of you, and so I figure this is a tough job that needs somebody that’s willing to go the extra mile to get it done,” Loomis said.

He said he thinks the county clerk position would be a good challenge.

“The Army’s put me through a lot of leadership training and a lot of trial by fire, and I’ve come out OK. I think I can handle this one too,” he said.

He said he feels the biggest challenges ahead for the next clerk involve working with limited resources.

“There are only seven people in the office, and they handle elections and they have to ramp up for that and work a lot of extra hours,” he said.

With primary elections in May 2020 and a general election in November 2020, if appointed he would need to put his nose to the grindstone and learn as much as possible in a short amount of time, he said.

Loomis didn’t rule out a future run for county commissioner. The current commissioners are all in office until 2022, so that’s a ways out.

“I’ll cross that bridge when it happens,” Loomis said. “I might find more satisfaction in the clerk’s office, I don’t know.”

Loomis is a 1985 Roseburg High School graduate and has earned associate degrees in automotive technology, aviation maintenance and general studies.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin files for reelection

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin filed Friday to run for reelection to a fourth term, according to the Douglas County Elections Office.

Hanlin was first elected as county sheriff in 2008. He ran unopposed in that election, and was also unopposed for reelection in both 2012 and 2016.

He joined the sheriff’s office in 1989, and served as a deputy, a detective and a lieutenant prior to becoming sheriff.

He is also a past commander of the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team.

He’s known as a staunch supporter of gun rights and was sheriff during the Umpqua Community College shooting in October 2015.

Hanlin has also overseen the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office during a time of shrinking budgets and high turnover due to retirements.

Hanlin grew up in Roseburg and graduated from Glide High School. He received an associate degree in computer information systems from Central Oregon Community College in Bend.

Hanlin did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

On his Facebook page, Hanlin said he was excited to announce he was filing.

“I am grateful for the many years of support Douglas County residents have given me and my office, and I would be greatly honored to be allowed to serve another (fourth) term. The past 30 years serving with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has been a tremendous honor, and the past twelve years as your Sheriff has been even more remarkable,” he wrote.

He also said he would make working with the county commissioners to secure stable public safety funding a priority.