Officers assume new roles

January 07, 2003 12:00 am
Sharon Bass left the Baker County Sheriff's office to take a position at the Baker City Police Department. Wynn Lohner, left, was promoted to sergeant and Josh Bryant will be inside School District 5J as the school resource officer. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Sharon Bass left the Baker County Sheriff's office to take a position at the Baker City Police Department. Wynn Lohner, left, was promoted to sergeant and Josh Bryant will be inside School District 5J as the school resource officer. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By CHRIS COLLINS

Of the Baker City Herald

A former longtime sheriff's deputy is the newest member of the Baker City Police force.

Sharon Bass, 39, was sworn in Monday morning in a brief ceremony at City Hall. The 1981 Baker High School graduate first became involved in law enforcement as a part-time matron at the old Baker County Jail in the basement of the courthouse.

She was hired as a full-time corrections officer when the new jail was built in 1991 and was hired as a patrol deputy for the sheriff's department in 1998.

Bass said she expects the work in her new position to be more fast paced and varied than in her role as a deputy sheriff. She is looking forward to the city's 12-hour shifts, which provide officers with a three-day weekend every other week.

Bass also is a member of the Baker County Mounted Posse where she has served on the dive team since 1992. Her father, Sam Bass, a former sheriff's deputy and undersheriff, is the Posse captain.

Prior to beginning her law enforcement career, Sharon Bass worked at Marvin Wood Products as a supervisor.

She will begin her patrol duties Friday. Bass will fill the vacancy created by moving Joshua Bryant to school resource officer.

"I want to be able to make an impact with the kids," Bryant said of his interest in the SRO position. "If they make the right choices now we won't have to deal with them in the future."

Bryant, 32, joined the Baker City Police Department two years ago. He is a 1989 BHS graduate and served seven years in the U.S. Army where he worked as a military police officer and in field artillery.

After leaving the Army, Bryant worked in corrections for two years in Georgia. He returned to Baker City in 1998 and spent one year as a sheriff's deputy before joining the city police department.

Bryant's SRO position will be funded for the first three years by a $125,000 federal grant. The Baker School District will pay 75 percent of the officer's salary and benefits in the fourth year, an estimated $46,551. Over the four years, the city will pay about $55,100 to fund the position.

Police Chief Jim Tomlinson said the grant funding will allow the department to continue to accomplish its goals despite the city's struggling financial condition.

Bryant will spend three-fourths of his time at Baker High School and one-fourth of his time at Baker Middle School. During the summertime he will return to patrol duty.

"We know this is a successful way for officers to be in the schools," Tomlinson said.

The focus of the SRO program is to work with students in the ares of prevention, education and enforcement, he said.

The city and the school district shared the cost of placing an officer in the schools from 1998 to 2000. The program was discontinued because of a lack of funding.

In other personnel changes, the department has announced the promotion of Wyn Lohner to sergeant. Lohner replaces Sgt. Greg Anderson who resigned in October. Anderson was hired as a lieutenant with the Hermiston Police Department.

The 38-year-old Lohner joined the department in November 1999. As he assumes his new responsibilities as sergeant, his role as the city's DARE officer will be reduced.

Lohner said he will present an overview of the program and teach some lessons to fifth-graders during the year. His brother, officer Jay Lohner, also will present the National Rifle Association's Eddy Eagle gun safety program to elementary schools.

A new person will be trained to teach DARE classes to Baker City elementary students next year, he said.

"I look forward to working with the community and seeing our department grow in a positive direction," Lohner said.