Benton County commissioners voted unanimously (3-0) today to appoint current Baker County Undersheriff Jefri Van Arsdall to fill the position of Interim Benton County Sheriff for the remainder of Sheriff Scott Jackson’s current term.
Van Arsdall’s appointment is contingent on his meeting all the requirements to be Benton County Sheriff, which includes passing an extensive background check. The background check can take up to three weeks to complete. During the interim between Sheriff Jackson’s departure and Van Arsdall’s background check completion, Benton County Undersheriff Greg Ridler will act in-capacity as Benton County Sheriff.
Jefri Van Arsdall has over twenty years of law enforcement experience. Undersheriff Van Arsdall began his career with Washington County, Oregon as a reserve deputy, worked at the Corvallis Police Department from 2004 to 2015, earning the rank of Patrol Lieutenant, joined Baker County Sheriff’s Office in 2017, and became Undersheriff in 2018. Van Arsdall holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Administration of Justice from Portland State University.
“We were blessed to have two strong candidates for Interim Sheriff,” said Chair Xan Augerot. “Given the need to address racial justice and increase community engagement, we chose Jefri Van Arsdall. His tenure with Corvallis Police Department, which is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), as well as his experience with the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, gives Van Arsdall a breadth of community experience that will help lead Benton County Sheriff’s Office into the future.”
Sheriff Jackson will retire on February 1, 2021 after 25 years with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. Under the terms of the Benton County Charter, it falls to the Board of Commissioners to appoint someone for the position through the end of the position’s term if the vacancy occurs with less than half of the term remaining. The current term ends in January 2023.
In addition to the appointment of an Interim Sheriff, the Benton County commissioners passed a resolution condemning the January 6. 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol Building. In discussing the resolution, Chair Xan Augerot remarked, “I don’t think any of us take this lightly. I believe in the sanctity of our republican democracy. I don’t believe invading the Capitol is ever appropriate and certainly never fanning the flames of violence.”
“I’m all for the right to peaceably protest,” added Commissioner Nancy Wyse, who authored the resolution. “My intention here is to condemn the breaching of the Capitol and encouraging of violence. Those things should be condemned.”
The commissioners cited a concern that growing incidents of violence towards public officials would lead to the need for additional safety measures, ultimately resulting in decreased public access to elected and public officials. “It will make in-person interactions with our elected officials even more difficult,” said Commissioner Pat Malone. “I think that’s a real loss.”