May 2006

Demanding Accountability

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The Josephine County
Sheriff Race Candidates

By Ron Lee
Investigative Reporter

Below you will find an overview of each of the candidates for sheriff and what they wanted the citizens of this county to know about them, their qualifications and what they see as the issues that face the department.

Brian Anderson -
Straight from the tape:

Q) Give me some background ... where were you born?

A) "I was born up in, actually, Corvallis, Oregon. My parents were at Oregon State and so I grew up in Portland and then I went to school back at Corvallis. I tell everyone when I see they have their beaver stuff or duck stuff on ... I always ask them if they were a true person, did they go to school there? My wife is from Grants Pass. Her name is Julie and we have one daughter. She is sixteen. It's interesting when they're a teen.

Q) Why do you want to be Sheriff?

A) I think it's that I enjoy living here doing what I'm doing. I've been in the sheriff's office ... for 22 years and I really think it's going to be critical for someone to have the experience who knows the whole sheriff's office inside and out and has the training and the background to do it. Because I like it here and I think it's important to have the right person at the top. I've worked for 5 sheriffs now and, you know, I've learned something from each one. And I think I can do a good job. I want to do a good job.

Q) And what did you learn from Daniel?

A) Sometimes he makes decisions that, um, he doesn't think them through, but he's pretty straight forward, he'll tell you like it is. And sometimes ... I'm not a fan of fighting a lot of those battles that he fights on the front page of the paper. I don't think that's the way to go about it but that's his style. Just some of his decisions I wish were made differently.

Q) There has been a lot of criticism of this department.

A) Uh-huh.

Q) So how do you feel you are going to be able to change that image?

A) Well it starts at the top and you need the right person at the top. And you need to set a professional image at the top. And you need to hold the people accountable. Good training, you know we try to do a lot of training already. But the more training you do the less time you have on the street. And I think it's important to have the right people next to you in command positions.

Q) Is there anything you want to say to the people of the county? I mean give me your best pitch.

A) Best pitch, huh (laughter), I think you need to ... with the potential loss of O&C funding and if it looks like its going to go ... we need someone with budget experience, who knows how to work with a tight budget ... who works well with others. You know I have a reputation of working well with others and that is going to be important and that's coming down the pipe. Some of these other people who are running don't have budget experience, they're not even certified police officers in Oregon. Takes time to go back and get certified and that's time away from the office. It's going to be critical to have a person with that kind of experience.

Q) What do you feel is the biggest law enforcement challenge this county faces?

A) Funding. Funding. I mean you look at ... we don't have stabilized funding so we end up losing a lot of our officers to other agencies because they might not have a job next year. And to me you can't fight the meth problem and any of those other issues if you don't have the staff to do it. You need detectives. You need deputies out there handling calls. You need directors for when people call in. You need the jail, a jail that's adequately funded to house people. I think funding is the biggest issue.

Don Fasching:

Don Fasching jumped right into his interview bringing up a point of issue that he has been facing in his campaign locally by being the newest to the area saying that it had even been brought up by individuals asking, "what kind of vested interest do you have in the county if you have only been here two years?" Answering to this Fasching stated that he'd like people to look at the credentials of the individuals running and not how long they have lived in the area. He even went on to say that by being new it made it better as he didn't owe anyone anything.

Fasching's father was in the service and spent some time in San Diego where his sister was born prior to moving to North Dakota where he and his brother were born. Don was born in Beach, North Dakota in 1949. In 1952 his mother decided she was tired of the winters there and they moved the family back to San Diego where his mother has resided ever since.

In 1967 he graduated from college and instead of getting drafted into the Viet-Nam war he enlisted in the army. In 1970 he was assigned to defense and White House communications where he worked for two and a half years. "That was fun. I enjoyed Washington D.C." he said.

In 1973 he left the service and joined the Fairfax, Virginia police department where he drove a beat car for almost 7 years. He said that he always wanted to go into law enforcement.

In 1979 he left Fairfax and headed back to San Diego where he attended another police academy, which he said was one of the hardest things he ever had to do because of his age at the time. After completing the academy he moved into patrol for a number of years before moving up the ranks into the field training office where he was in charge of assigning training officers for the department. In 1985 he was promoted to sergeant and went back to patrol before being moved over into the academy where he ran the defensive tactics program for two and a half years. "As far as training issues I can do it all, have done it all." Fasching stated.

To make a long and career short he served in K-9 while also teaching in the academy before moving over into internal affairs where he served for two years as well as eventually being elected as a director of the police association where he was in charge of the police officer defense fund and treasurer in charge of a budget of over a million dollars per year. He even got to spend time in the mounted unit doing crowd control on horseback.

He says he has the most law enforcement experience here in the United States and that there isn't a law enforcement personnel issue that he hasn't seen or dealt with during his career. Speaking on this he said, "So, I bring that, and I feel I bring a lot more than any of the other candidates in that regard."

His wife, Sue Ellen, who served 27 years in the San Diego police Department and served her last 7 years as a homicide detective had family who moved into the Grants Pass area and they fell in love with it, so they decided to retire here. He says that it was through friends at his church in Cave Junction that first asked him to run as sheriff.

He says he can't promise he'll be able to put more deputies out on the streets right away because of budget constraints, but that he can be productive with what the department has now.

Saying what he'd like the county residents to know, he stated, "I have the background ... I don't have any hidden agendas. I'm not out here to change the world, I know it's going to be a slow process, but it can be done ...”

Gil Gilbertson:

Gil Gilbertson was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1947 and stayed there through his high school years. Just two weeks after graduation he set off with the Navy where he spent most of his time overseas which included Viet Nam. Just prior to his 21st birthday his Navy tour ended and he spent some time living in Southern California before returning to his home town of Waterloo.

Back in Waterloo Gil joined the police department, a career choice he says he has always loved. After an early stint as a reserve he was hired-on in 1975 as a full-time officer.

Re-entering the military in 1980 Gil joined-up with the Iowa Air National Guard in the law enforcement field and later transferred into the Iowa Army National Guard, and finally the Army Reserves rounding out a total of 17 years of military service while simultaneously serving as a reservist in the Waterloo Police Department.

This also launched what would become a lifetime career as a law enforcement instructor and in 1988 he co-founded the International Law Enforcement Training Group who's clients included the Army, Air Force, and Marines. He, at one time, taught 53 different topics including explosives, use of force, defensive tactics, officer survival techniques, S.W.A.T., and many others which he often wrote and published training manuals for.

Choosing to move closer to the rest of his family, Gil moved his home base to Josephine County in 1991 but this didn't mean he stayed put.

In 1996 he went to Bosnia through DynCorp, a contractor to the Department of State, and in 1998 was sent into Kosovo - details of which he said I could get from his web site at Through DynCorp he also served in Iraq and New Orleans in the wake of Katrina.

In 2003, however, he met the love of his life and in 2004 decided to stay home, unless absolutely needed, and married her. He and his wife Diann own and operate Blind George’s News Stand. Diann has two daughters, whom Gil lovingly calls his own.

As for what he wanted to say to the county residents, "My life, my career, my passion has been law enforcement. This job is not for everyone. The ones that choose to follow this career path are usually people with a strong desire to help others, and I see our current sheriff's department suffering from poor administrative decisions made over the years. I see it and the public needing help which is why feel strongly compelled to “step-up-to-the-plate” and offer my experience ... This is our home. It is up to all of us, in our own ways, to play a positive role in the development of our community and my role can best be served as sheriff."

Spike Kelly:

“I was born in Gardena, California and was basically raised in Hermosa Beach where I grew up and learned to surf and hunted horny toads in the fields." Kelly said when asked where he was born.

He went on to say that he had gone to Long Beach State University and after graduation became a police officer in the mid 1970's where he started out in patrol and worked his way up into under-cover narcotics and then homicide investigations as well as becoming a field training officer. As a sergeant he also served on S.W.A.T. and quickly became watch commander. As watch commander he was the supervisor of patrol and the jail.

Saying of California, "You get a lot of training and we qualified once a month down there, something I'd like to see us do up here ..." He went on to say that he had loved it down there.

He said the reason he is in law enforcement is that he used to see things happen at an early age that he knew was wrong and wanted to do something about it, so he knew that was what he wanted to do.

In 1991 he and his wife moved into Oregon where he wanted to retire, but he says that he just got bored. "I was watching the show COPS one day and I was yelling at the TV so my wife told me it was time to go back to work," he said with a smile.

Soon thereafter he came to the Josephine County Sheriff's Department as a reserve and was quickly promoted to Sergeant then Lieutenant where he took part in doing internal investigations and they soon asked him to come on full time. When he went through the academy he won three awards; he won the shooting award, the academic award, and the award for best overall deputy.

When asked why if he had all of these awards he was placed in the jail he said that when he came back to the county as a full deputy he chose the jail, but he did go on to say that it went beyond his choice alone. "When I started working for the jail everybody said, 'oh, you're going to be the next sergeant ... he's going to promote quickly' because I had plenty of experience. But I noticed that one of the supervisors was sexually harassing some of the female deputies and citizens, so I filed a complaint.”

According to Kelly the complaint went unanswered for about 6 months until one of the female deputies came forward and filed her own complaint. He was called into the office where he was told by Daniel that the supervisor was demoted and that lay-offs were going to be happening soon and that he'd be gone. But somehow this supervisor was able to fight back his seniority prior to the lay-offs and stayed with the department. According to Kelly this supervisor has continued to harass the women in the department and even "went off" on one female corporal who reprimanded him, but when the internal investigation took place the administration found that he was acting within his rights of freedom of speech.

Kelly said, "I don't know if they hired me thinking I was going to be a 'Good Old Boy' but I think they realized I wasn't going to be ..."

He went on to relate a story about a colored man who came into the jail that was treated deplorably and was eventually hazed stating that he filed a complaint on this instance as well, this time for excessive force. For Kelly it has seemed like every time he has filed a complaint, he is the one who gets disciplined.

He feels so strongly that the department is being mismanaged that he decided to run for its head seat, sheriff. He said that he's concerned for the county saying that he is afraid that the citizens will elect a politician instead of a true working sheriff which he is committed to being, even getting behind the wheel of a squad car and taking shifts in the jail.

He wants to open the sheriff's position to regular town-hall style discussions where any citizen came come forward and discuss with him the workings of the office or even submit complaints directly to him.

According to Kelly he isn't afraid to do what is necessary to be sheriff, even if that means to make drastic cuts. "I'm a realist. The citizens aren’t going to give us any extra money to run this department. We need to run it with what we have."

He said that he wanted the citizens of the county to know that, "We are in a crisis. I don't think they are going to elect somebody who will solve all of their problems, I think we are going to have to do it as a team. I think there are a lot of people out there (in the department) that are afraid that if I were to get it (the sheriff's position) the gravy-train would go away ... Well, the gravy-train should go away."

Please do your part and vote!

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