Tom Bergin wants to attract new blood with new ideasA new year. A new sheriff. Tom Bergin took the oath of office yesterday and became Clatsop County's top law enforcement officer.

Mr. Bergin faces many challenges, as Tom Bennett described in his article of Dec. 23. The flip side of challenge is opportunity. The key to Bergin's success will be his ability to grow in the job and to reach beyond the county's current set of circumstances.

It is good news that Bergin will search widely for a new jail commander and a new chief deputy. Having come to the job of sheriff from within the ranks of the sheriff's department, Bergin shows laudable enterprise in seeking new blood with experience that has been earned in another jurisdiction. Law enforcement is no different than other professions and industries. New ideas are the essence of running a productive, efficient sheriff's department. An organization that ceases to attract new energy and ideas is slowly dying.

The Interagency Drug Task Force, which Bergin seeks to re-energize, is critical to this county. The recent arrest of a suspected meth dealer in Astoria was a demonstration of what the task force can accomplish. The glaring shortcoming is Astoria's absence from the task force. Wasn't it ironic that the task force uprooted an alleged meth dealer right under the nose of Astoria's police chief and mayor?

The need for a new county jail is a paramount issue for Bergin. The county's sheriff must be the most visible leader in this discussion. Bergin understands there must be a consensus among all law enforcement personnel before the voters will support a request for a new jail.

Tom Bergin has what it takes. We wish him well.

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