Red Wortham filed candidacy for Washington County Sheriff for the May 2020 primary election. This will be the first contested Sheriff’s election in Washington County in over 15 years.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office currently employs a top-heavy force that is distributed in such a way that lawsuits are a constant threat both from staff and the public. In addition, the Washington County Jail is understaffed and is forced to use mandatory overtime which both exhausts staff, further contributing to staff losses and extensive sick time use, as well as costing 1.6 million dollars in overtime costs just in the jail last year.
These same staffing shortages also result in reduced service to the public. The jail has had to close housing areas, cut inmate custody programs like electronic detention, and force release inmates who should remain in custody because they cannot keep enough staff working.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office must not splurge the money of taxpayers while neglecting problems that must be addressed. Red Wortham intends to correct these mistakes to ensure the county does not continue to risk heavy financial losses, and she intends to ensure the public is kept safe by re-organizing staffing for direct service increases.
Building a Diverse Force
Washington county is a fast growing region that is, perhaps, the most diverse area in Oregon. Its Sheriff’s Office should reflect the diversity of the community it serves. Red Wortham commits to hiring and promoting qualified and diverse applicants from the communities we serve.
Red Wortham intends to build a sheriff’s office that reflects the diversity of Washington County with aggressive recruitment of more women, lgbtq, and people of color. She intends to dismantle the glass and rainbow ceilings and recruit, train, and support strong leaders, rather than continuing the current toxic environment that has forced quality employees out and slowed the growth of those who stay.
Accountability = Trust
To achieve both a safer community and a fair system of law enforcement, Washington County needs a system based on values that are responsive to the community it serves. Red Wortham met with a variety of groups that work for restorative and community justice and put together a plan for addressing issues based on their input.
For accountability to exist there needs to be meaningful data gathering. At this time the minimal data being collected on those who encounter the system at various points is done in a limited and incomplete format that cannot be interpreted in any meaningful way. Without this information law enforcement cannot evaluate its impact or build policy that reflects fair and effective practices.
Red Wortham’s candidacy for Washington County Sheriff 2020, brings a choice to the ballot for the first time in 15 years for this position. In past years the seat was handed off midterm to an internal favorite, who then ran as an unchallenged incumbent ensuring that out-of-date practices never change.
Voters deserve the opportunity to have a voice about the kind of law enforcement agency they would like to see serving their interests. Voters also deserve to know that the promises of the sheriff they elect will be fulfilled.
Red Wortham is Highly Qualified
Red Wortham is a lifelong Oregonian who loves Washington County and its communities. She graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, spent years as a military wife, and raised her children here.
She has worked in law enforcement and social work for decades and has achieved high standing and top honors in law enforcement, leadership, and justice training programs. She continues to contribute policies and practices that bring increased efficiency, safety, and fairness to the office. She understands the intricacies of running a law enforcement agency and is responsive to those she serves and innovative in building policy that works.
Red Wortham completed the Oregon Executive Development Institute’s training for Executive Management in Law Enforcement. She served as an Oregon Jail Inspector ensuring Oregon jails operate in humane and legal ways. She was certified by the Department of Justice as a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) auditor, helping protect the sexual safety of jail inmates and staff.
Red Wortham has three daughters she is raising in Washington County and volunteers for many community and school programs, raising funds and helping shape policies that make Washington County a better place to live.
Red Wortham for Sheriff
P.O. Box 1623
Hillsboro, OR 97123