Regarding choosing the next Walla Walla County sheriff.
The first thing I look for is character. Can I trust them to do what they say? Are they personally financially responsible? Do they have any skeletons in the closet? As a voter, it is comforting to know that John Turner is the only candidate with a current "top secret" security clearance.
Second, do they have the necessary training, skills and experience to do the job? We have some potentially large problems looming in this county, like increased gang activity and increased theft.
Which of the three candidates has experience successfully working with those problems? When I had to have back surgery two years ago, I picked a doctor with a proven track record. I was patient 2501, or something like that, and I am happy with the result. We should look at the potential sheriff the same way.
Only John Turner has successful experience working with gangs and helping the U.S. military deal with insurgents demonstrating similar behavior in Iraq.
There are a number of areas of the current Sheriff's Office that are puzzling/troubling: A number of other departments in the state have K9 units. The WWSO apparently mismanaged and lost ours.
Many departments across the nation have programs to deal with gangs. WWSO does not have an effective one.
A number of individuals in our community have prior law enforcement and/or military experience. These same individuals have applied to be reserve deputies (volunteers) for WWSO and have been turned down. There is no intern program with the Criminal Justice program at Walla Walla Community College.
WWSO did not even apply for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant that could have provided for additional personnel. We need additional deputies any way we can get them, even if funded by grants.
We do not have 24/7 -- coverage and there are numerous accounts of long delays and multiple callbacks from dispatch before a deputy arrives, if he arrives. Can't we have real 24/7-shift coverage, especially if someone is kicking in your front door or attacking a family member?
One definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing and expect a different result.
Are we going to continue to do the same old thing in Walla Walla County or will we take a new direction and elect John Turner, who has the character, experience, and proven track record to deal best with the problems facing our community and correct the puzzling areas? You get to choose.
Theodore Richerzhagen III