Brandon Fowler, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office’s newest emergency manager and public information officer, said he plans to continue the close relationship the department has with volunteers across the Klamath Basin.
“This county runs on volunteers,” he said. And the organizations are always looking for more people to get involved, he added.
Although he’s new to the KCSO, having started there Sept. 3, Fowler isn’t new to Klamath as he’s lived here since 2004.
One volunteer group he hopes to work even more with is the Klamath Basin Amateur Radio Association. With the county covering 6,100 square miles, Fowler said in an emergency, groups that have the communication infrastructure like the radio association will be vital to public safety.
“There are places in the county cellphones don’t work,” Fowler said. “We’ll rely on radio groups and utilizing their skill sets to help communication.”
The major emergencies Fowler is focusing his community efforts on are earthquakes and wildfires, as those are the most pertinent to this area.
“We’re not trying to scare people,” he said. “But those two are the ones people are most vulnerable to.” He said it’s his job is to “plan for things you never hope happen.”
He said he’s felt the support of the community as a whole, but also of the county commissioners for emergency resources for the community and securing funding.
Fowler went before the board last Tuesday to inquire about finding for a local group’s request to bring an earthquake preparedness group, known as Tipping Point Resilience, to Klamath. This Tuesday the commissioners approved the $1,500 funding request, and Fowler said he’s felt that the commissioners value the emergency preparedness work he’s doing.
“The commissioners are great,” he said. “They’re very supportive of those efforts.”
He said he’s always willing to help groups that are looking to grow or gain funding by writing letters of support or aiding with grants.
Prior to his hiring at the KCSO, Fowler was on the Klamath County Budget Committee and helped set the county budgets from 2017 to 2020. He was also on the board of directors for Chiloquin Fire and Rescue, along with that budget committee. He said his experience balancing organizations’ budgets is a skill he brings into this role.
He said he’s looking to build on the ground laid for him by his predecessors, like Morgan Lindsey, who left the role in June, and said he’s blessed to come in with so much groundwork already laid.
In his first month on the job, Fowler said he’s felt support from the community and that his phone has been ringing off the hook with people looking to meet the new guy in law enforcement.
He will work closely in his position with a variety of community entities like Klamath County Fire District 1, Chiloquin Fire and Rescue, Klamath Falls Police Department, 911 dispatch and the school districts, which he coordinates trainings for, in addition to other organizations and volunteer groups.
“These volunteers, they’re really just there to serve,” he said. “They’re great organizations with solid leadership.”