Sheriff Department Regonizes Staff Members for 20 Years Service

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Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin with department staff members Rick Irish and Teresa Korhonen

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin recently recognized department staff members Rick Irish and Teresa Korhonen for 20 years of service to the department.

The two senior deputies both work for the department’s corrections division, Irish as work crew leader and Korhonen as field training officer.

Irish joined the animal control office in 1992, just before the county was rocked by the notorious case of animal collector Vikki Kittles. In 2001 he moved to the Sheriff’s Office corrections division, and five years later took over the work crew program.

The work crew was initiated in the 1990s to provide alternate sanctions to the overcrowded county jail. It performs maintenance work at county facilities and cuts firewood for distribution to low-income residents, and performs groundskeeping and other tasks for several local entities including the City of Astoria, Port of Astoria, Fort Stevens State Park and two local cemeteries.

Leading the work crew means he spends more time with local offenders than most any other Sheriff’s Office personnel, Irish said. It’s satisfying to see crew members appreciate the value of the work they do, he said.

Korhonen did custodial work for the county building and grounds crew, including work in the Sheriff’s Office facilities, and decided law enforcement was the field for her. She joined the corrections division fulltime in 1992.

Her assignments have included work crew and jail inspection, and currently she leads the department’s field training program, making sure staff members keep current on the growing training requirements and know how to stay safe at their jobs.

“I touch on everything with all the staff,” she said. “My goal is that each and every one goes home safe the night after their shift.”

She credited former Sheriff John Raichl with providing her regular encouragement to pursue her career. “He told me to keep striving,” she said.