After hearing allegation the current Sheriff's Office is remiss in applying for grants, I would like to share with you how the grant process works in Walla Walla County.
Most grants require matching funds and have a sunset at which time the entity is expected to absorb the cost or terminate the program or employee. Applications for grants including the source of matching funds must be identified and approved by the county commissioners. This process, in addition to other processes, has enabled the county to maintain solvency over the years, a position many counties envy.
Some campaign promises can be expensive. The estimated 2011 cost for a new deputy including benefits, training and an automobile is $123,000 -- your tax dollars.
Initially, the school resource officer at Wa-Hi was a competitive grant, paying for the officer's salary for the first three years. Part of the granting process required the Sheriff's Office and the Walla Walla School District to partner after the initial grant to retain the position.
There has been a statement that there should be a SRO at every high school in the county; an admirable goal. However, based on "calls for service," other schools would not be competitive in a grant process, nor viable to fund locally. The SRO grant for Wa-Hi was pursued because it was the most populated and vulnerable school in the county.
As a former county commissioner, I do not recall ever having one complaint from a law-abiding citizen about the Sheriff's Office under the direction of Bill Jackson or Mike Humphreys. In fact, six years after my retirement, I continue to hear good comments about that office and the staff.
After the promise of change in the 2008 presidential campaign and observing the condition of our country at the present time, I'm not sure change is what we need.
I believe it is important to have someone to lead the Sheriff's Office who has extensive field and administrative experience, knows who the criminals are and has addressed the prevailing issues, past and present, so future issues may be dealt with appropriately; an individual who has the respect of his counterparts throughout the state and the unsolicited support of the majority of his subordinates and other law enforcement officers in the county because they have observed his management style and temperament.
I will be voting for a great cop, Bill White, for sheriff.