Deputy honored

A deputy with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office recently received a major statewide honor.

Sr. Deputy Walter Scherbarth was recognized by the board of commissioners last week after being named the officer of the year by the Oregon State Marine Board.

Board member Randy Henry said Scherbarth was very deserving for the ongoing work he has done to keep boaters safe.

“This award goes to someone who has been a fixture in the marine community for more than two decades,” Henry said. “As one of Oregon’s most skilled jet boat operators, he has been a key part of the Marine Board training program for years. Sr. Deputy Walter Scherbarth has been a marine deputy for the Curry County Sheriff’s Office for close to 25 years. He’s always willing to assist others when needed.”

Henry said the best thing he could say about Scherbarth is he has saved lives, both in rescues and by spreading the message about wearing life jackets.

Henry went on to say wearing life jackets is extremely important. In 2020, 25 people have died in boat fatalities in Oregon, the vast majority were not wearing life jackets.

“So, having someone like Walter who is out there pushing to educate people is going to save lives,” Henry said. “We’ve been pretty safe this year in Curry County, and we thank Walter for that.”

After receiving another award from Sheriff John Ward, this one an outstanding service award, Scherbarth said he is grateful to the people of Curry County for listening to his message.

“It seems to me over the last decade people are starting to buy into my spiel on public safety,” he said. “These guys are going to say, ‘You don’t write a lot of tickets.’ Well, I think there’s a reason we don’t write a lot of tickets. It’s because we’ve got people out there doing what people are supposed to do.”

Scherbarth said in his career, most of his effort has been talking to people boating on the Rogue River. After decades of preaching about safety, he is grateful people are paying attention.

“It seems to me we’re more about prevention now than saving lives, and that’s what I want to be known for.”

After hearing about the award, commissioners praised Scherbarth for the work he does.

“It sure is nice to have our sheriff’s office in here getting awards,” Board Chair Chris Paasch said. “That’s a plus for our community.”

“I’ve watched this guy grow up into possibly the best white-water cop in America,” Commissioner Court Boice said.

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