Click Here to View Sheriffs List
Sheriff Larry D. Spencer is a law enforcement professional with over 30 years of experience.
He began serving as Sheriff of Lincoln County in 1982 after working with the Eugene and Newport police departments. He began his law enforcement career in 1961 with the Eugene Police Department, where he spent more than 16 years, working his way through the ranks to become Sergeant in 1970. He worked all aspects of police enforcement, including a three-year period on the University of Oregon campus, where he was Sergeant in charge of campus detail.
In 1978, he was hired as Chief of Police in Newport, where he stayed until he was appointed Sheriff of Lincoln County in September, 1982 to replace Norman L. Counts, who resigned. Spencer ran for the office in the November 1982 election and won. He was re-elected in 1986 and 1990.
Sheriff Spencer was born in Baker and moved with his family to Westfir in 1951. He attended high school there and went on to enter the U.S. Army after graduation. After five years in the service, he returned to the Eugene area and worked at Ed Hines Lumber Company in Westfir until he was hired by the Eugene Police Department.
Throughout his law enforcement career, Spencer has attended many police classes and has more than 1,000 hours of training on his record.
Spencer and his wife, Lorraine, have four children.
George A. Landis was picked to serve as the first Sheriff of Lincoln County when the county was established by the state Legislature in February, 1893 from Benton and Polk counties.
The coastal county was named for Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. In the beginning, it was comprised of the Siletz Indian Reservation, lying between Polk County and the Pacific Ocean.
Lincoln County covers 992 square miles and has a population of some 38,000 people. The principal industries are timber, fishing, agriculture and recreation.
Newport, the county seat, is Oregon's oceanography research center with Oregon State University's Marine Science Center and its fleet of ocean-going vessels. The city also is considered the Dungeness crab capital of the world.
Lincoln City, a city formed more than a decade ago by the consolidation of five small coastal towns, is the center of the Twenty Miracle Miles, an oceanside community with a number of tourist-related attractions and elegant resorts. Lincoln City also is a popular retirement community.
Sport fishing is popular along the coastline of Lincoln County from the Siletz River and Bay to the Yachats River.
Other points of interest in Lincoln County include Devil' s Lake, Otter Crest Viewpoint, Yaquina State Beach and Lighthouse, Seal Rock State Park and the Cape Perpetua Federal Recreational Area and Museum.
Tourism was not the main focus when George A. Landis took over as Sheriff when the new county was established. Landis remained as Sheriff of the young county until 1898, when James H. Ross took over and ended up spending more than a dozen years as Sheriff of Lincoln County. A native of Lee County in Iowa, Ross was Salem Marshal in 1886 and was a Deputy under Sheriff Landis before he was elected to the position.
Bert Geer followed Ross, spending eight years as Sheriff after winning four consecutive two-year terms to the office. Geer was succeeded by William E. "Billy" Simpson, who was Sheriff from 1919 until December, 1920, when he died in office. His wife, Maybel Simpson, was appointed to take his place and became the first -- and only -- woman to ever serve as a Sheriff in Oregon.''
Maybel Simpson remained as Sheriff until the start of 1923. She ran for the office in the November, 1922 election, when the length of the term of office had increased to four years, but was defeated by George H. Horsfall.
Maybel Simpson had experience as a Deputy when she was picked to succeed her husband. She served for two years as a Deputy, heading up the county tax collection department. She selected Ted McElwain of Toledo to serve as her Deputy.
Maybel Simpson's selection as Sheriff caught the attention of several newspapers, where small articles were printed. One story praised the selection, saying "Mrs. Simpson is regarded as thoroughly capable of handling the administrative affairs of the office while McElwain is possessed of a cool head in the face of danger."
Horsfall, the man who beat Simpson in the 1922 election, served two, four-year terms and was succeeded by Ted McElwain, who also spent two, four-year terms as Sheriff of Lincoln County. In 1939, George Robinson began serving the first of what should have been two, four-year terms, but he died in office in 1945 and was replaced by Timothy P. Welp, Lincoln County's Chief Deputy since 1939.
Welp was born in Seneca, Kansas in 1899 and later moved to the coastal county. He was Chief Deputy for six years before he was appointed to take Robinson's place after he died.
Welp was nearing his eighth year as Sheriff when he resigned and was replaced by W. H. Kuhlenbeck, who served as Sheriff of Lincoln County until 1955.
Jack Waterman, step-son of Sheriff George Robinson, spent three consecutive four-year terms as Sheriff of Lincoln County from 1955 to 1967.
Everett Melvin Hockema, a native of Lincoln County, succeeded Waterman and also ended up spending three, four-year terms as county Sheriff. Hockema was born in Alsea and attended high school in Waldport. He spent 17 years -from 1947 to 1964 -- with the Oregon State Police. He left the State Police to become an agent for Atlantic Richfield Company before running for Sheriff in 1966.
Norman L. Counts, a Eugene native, was elected to succeed Hockema and served as Sheriff until his resignation in September, 1982, when Spencer was appointed to take his place.
Counts worked for a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Myrtle Point Police Department, Coquille Police Department and the Toledo Police Department. With the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, he was a resident Deputy in 1976. He left the Sheriff's Office in 1978 to become an investigator for the Lincoln City Police Department.
Click Here to Read: "The Eddyville Murder & Deadly Property Dispute"
Return to "A History of Oregon Sheriffs Index"
Return to "A Place Called Oregon"