December 09, 2002 11:00 pm
Scott Willadsen ().
Scott Willadsen ().

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

Scott Willadsen admits he was nervous Friday morning.

His boss, Union County Sheriff Steve Oliver, and his supervisor, Deputy Sheriff Lt. Brad Workinger, wanted to see him, soon, on his day off.

"I seriously thought I was in trouble," Willadsen admitted.

A corrections deputy who has worked in the jail since August 1998, Willadsen couldn't really think of anything he'd done wrong, but …

When Willadsen arrived, there were fellow officers patting him on the back, a photographer snapping his picture, and a plaque with his name on it.

At a Wednesday evening ceremony conducted as part of the annual Oregon Sheriffs Association and Oregon Jail Managers Association meeting, Willadsen had been awarded one of only four outstanding achievement awards given in the state.

Workinger had nominated Willadsen for the award.

The nomination came for Willadsen's work as the sheriff department's defensive tactics, defensive force and firearms instructor — skills he's also honed to the point that he gives instruction at the state's police academy in Monmouth as part of the certification for Oregon officers. "He excels at this and loves to instruct," Workinger said of Willadsen.

Willadsen, who had once planned to be in the Marine Corps before an injury ended his training, had only been with the sheriff's department for two months when training to be a defensive tactics instructor

was offered. Before joining the sheriff's department, Willadsen had been a La Grande Police Department cadet and a reserve officer.

"I asked if I could do it, and I went," he remembers.

After the training, Willadsen found it was difficult to maintain his skills in this area, so he volunteered to teach at the police academy when the timing worked out.

That organization kept calling him back, he said.

"This is what I like to do," he said, smiling.