Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony

Klamath Falls Police Chief Dave Henslee gives a speech during the Veterans Day ceremony Saturday morning at the Veterans memorial park.

Dave Henslee, former chief of Klamath Falls Police Department, filed Friday to fill the seat of outgoing Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd in a 2022 election.

Henslee retired from KFPD in May 2020 after a 27-year career in law enforcement. He has since started 5H Cattle Company outside of Merrill, which he said has not received a drop of irrigation water the last two years.

Henslee said having a home and business dependent on water, while also being a supporter of the wildlife refuges downstream and the basin ecosystem that requires it own share, has given him “a broader perspective on the water issue.” He said his top priority as a county commissioner will be to find a way to solve the basin’s worsening water problems.

“We’ve got to deliver water, both for the farmers and for the refuges,” he said.

In a news release, Henslee said his other priorities, were he to be elected, include ensuring exceptional public safety in Klamath County and advancing county needs at both the state and federal level.

Henslee also said he would be interested in being appointed to the position temporarily, if county commissioners choose fill Boyd’s vacant seat until a new, elected commissioner can join them in 2023.

Boyd has until Jan. 10 to put his resignation in writing, according to Rochelle Long, Klamath County Clerk.

Long said commissioner Derrick DeGroot and board chair Kelley Minty Morris can then appoint someone to fill the empty seat effective Jan. 11, though there is no state law that says they must. If they do make an appointment, that person could hold the seat through all of 2022.

Minty Morris said Friday that because Boyd remains on the board at this time, there has been no discussion about how they would fill the position. She said that if a May election provides a clear-cut winner, commissioners could consider appointing that person to the seat early, rather than waiting until their term officially started in January 2023.

A primary election for a new commissioner would take place in May and a general election, consisting of the top two candidates, would take place in November 2022. The winner would serve through 2024. If only two candidates file for the seat, they will automatically face off in November.

Anyone wishing to run for the commissioner seat will have to file by March 8, 2022 to get on the May ballot.