Creswell, Public Safety & Health

Creswell man is new county sheriff

Lane County’s got a new sheriff, and you can’t find ’em more homegrown-Creswell than Cliff Harrold.
Sheriff Harrold’s family first set up shop in Creswell in 1946, when his great-grandparents, Foster and Stella Harrold, founded the 200-acre Harrold’s Dairy property on Dale Kuni Road. Harrold’s Dairy milk is part of the Darigold brand, and they occasionally fill plants like Umpqua and Springfield Creamery.
Growing up, he lived his life the way most kids do on a farm, helping out with chores, tending to the land and taking care of the herd. Today, Sheriff Harrold lives on a parceled off property next to the farm; he can see the family dairy from his kitchen window.
In 1990, when Harrold was a teen, Creswell petroleum businessman Bill Spencer dropped off fuel at his farm and offered Harrold a job at his gas station. What would follow would lay the foundation for Sheriff Harrold’s career.
Harrold became a part-time clerk at the Creswell BP gas station when a deputy walked in for a cup of coffee, a Creswell Lane County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) deputy by the name of Duane Toman. At the time, he had little interest in law enforcement, but the two got to talking. It stirred a curiosity in Harrold. He mentioned that he wanted to go for a ride-along with the deputy.
Unknowingly on the cusp of finding his lifelong passion, Harrold went for a ride with a deputy and he couldn’t get enough.
”There was just something about riding around in a patrol car – listening to calls for service; people in the community calling and ask for help and then going out and trying to serve them…it was really attractive to me,” Harrold said.
After the ride along, Harrold eagerly applied for a volunteer program for teenagers to explore their interest in law enforcement, called the Law Enforcement Explorer Post.
Before he knew it, Harrold was attending monthly meetings with deputies, participating in training, volunteering in every area of the sheriff’s office and shadowing deputies at Lane County Jail.
Thirsty for more, and with a 3.85 grade-point average and with most of his credits fulfilled his senior year, Harrold petitioned to attend school only part-time so that he could participate in even more ride-alongs.
Between ’91 and ’92, Harrold clocked about 800 hours as an LCSO Explorer, according to Chronicle archives. He even did a ride-along with his predecessor, Sheriff Byron Trapp, who was a deputy at the time, Harrold said. To this day, Harrold said his favorite thing to do is patrol shifts.
Deputy Toman said in a 1992 Chronicle interview that 16-year-old Harrold was a ”very intelligent, level-headed young man. He has all the necessary attributes to be an officer, and he’d be a definite credit to whatever department he works for. He’s got a lot of avenues open to him.”
A lot of avenues, indeed.
Harrold graduated Creswell High School in 1992 as the class salutatorian. Through his experience as an Explorer, he made connections with the Cottage Grove Police Department, he said, which led him to a job as a 911 Police/Fire/EMS dispatcher right after graduation.
While serving as a dispatcher, Harrold worked toward completing his criminal justice degree at Lane Community College. After college, he was hired as a deputy sheriff in the corrections division, working at the Lane County Jail.
From there, Harrold went into the police services division as a patrol deputy. There he had the opportunity to serve in court transport, on the traffic team and in main office patrol.
He has also been trained as a SWAT operator, and has worked as a field training officer.
In 2004, Harrold was promoted to sergeant and has served as a main office patrol supervisor, municipal contracts sergeant, marine patrol sergeant, detective sergeant and special response team sergeant.
In 2014, he was promoted to lieutenant and was responsible for a team of approximately 60 employees.
In 2015, he was assigned as acting in capacity captain in charge of the police services division.
In 2016, he was chosen chief deputy for LCSO.
And as of April 16, Harrold is the sheriff for the entire county, all 4,700 miles of it. He will now oversee about 300 employees, including 214 deputies, Harrold said. According to the county’s job posting, the sheriff salary is about $148,029. He was selected after a competitive application process and public interview before the Lane County Commissioners.
”The board was unanimous in its decision to appoint Chief Deputy Harrold to this important position,” said Board Chair Pete Sorenson in a release. ”We … felt that because of this long-time involvement – from an Explorer to the number two position – in the agency he was more than qualified for this important post and will serve with distinction.”
Lane County Commissioners lauded Harrold for his commitment to the Lane County community and his acknowledgement of the importance of building relationships and seeking solutions for the mental health needs facing many of the individuals held in the Lane County Jail.
”I’ve had the privilege of growing up in this organization,” Harrold said. ”So many people have invested in me. This (becoming sheriff) wasn’t ever a goal, but it has been a privilege walking the path that has led me to it. It is a calling. I care so much about it, and about the people. We have 300 employees in the sheriff’s office and I care about every one of them. Now, getting to be a leader is humbling, an honor.”
Harrold must stand for election in 2020 in order to continue serving as Sheriff.



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