For the first time in 12 years, Chelan County will have a new sheriff to start the new year.

Forty-two-year-old Mike Morrison will take over the reins as the county's top lawman from Brian Burnett, whom he defeated by almost 3,000 of the 31,658 votes cast in November's general election.

Morrison, a 16-year law enforcement veteran who's spent the last eight years with the Chelan County Sheriff's Office, says he's already making adjustments to the agency's work detail.

"I have put a lot more resources to our marine patrol program and our traffic enforcement unit has been broken free of patrol duties to go out and do what they're designed to be doing. I'm getting us back to placing more resources with our detective staffing, so they aren't getting worked so hard."

Morrison adds that he's also nearly finished selecting his command staff.

"I have selected a Chief of Operations, as well as an Executive Assistant and a Chief Civil Deputy. I'm also in the process of going through the background checks and polygraph and psych evaluations for my candidates for Chief of Patrol and Undersheriff. These things take a little time and need to be done for anyone being considered for such positions but they should be completed sometime soon."

Morrison says his selections for command staff will bring over 100 years of combined law enforcement experience to the agency, and adds the transition of replacing Sheriff Burnett and his outgoing command staff has been relatively smooth thus far.

"It's been pretty decent so far. Undersheriff (Jason) Mathews has been more than willing to communicate with me. I've also been able to cordially talk with Chief of Operations Chris Foreman. And Chief of Patrol Adam Musgrove has also been easy to deal with. So I have really appreciated those three seeing that what's best for the agency is best for them as well."

Morrison will inherit a $600,000 budget shortfall in the sheriff's office for 2023. He is expected to make one new hire but will also deal with four position freezes next year.

All of Chelan County's newly-elected officials will be sworn into office on December 29 and begin their posts on January 1.

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