In response to Bud Mills' letter to the editor published Aug. 8, I disagree with Mr. Mills on many points, as his letter of support for Mark Franklin for sheriff was filled with misinformation.
The Columbia County Jail holds 11 inmates, not five. Sheriff Hessler upgraded the jail from an eight-person to an 11-person facility by using wasted space.
As to the "clown-like patrol vehicles," the Jeep Liberty used by our office was purchased by the previous administration, of which Franklin was a part of. Over the last four years, Sheriff Hessler has replaced five vehicles with a more "patrol suitable" vehicle, with two more being replaced this year.
Dayton City doesn't have a no-smoking ban, it's merely a smoke free policy; therefore, there is no ordinance for the Sheriff's Office to enforce. As of Aug. 1, the Sheriff's Office provides 24-hour coverage, not the 20-hours cited by Mr. Mills. There are many small agencies throughout Washington that don't provide 24-hour coverage, including several around Columbia County.
The "poor radios" that Mr. Mills mentioned were upgraded two years ago replacing cheap, unsatisfactory ones purchased by the prior administration. The mobile radios are currently in the process of being replaced. We have also added more repeaters, and the radio bases were switched from phone lines to microwave transmitters, bringing Columbia County out of the 1950s as Mr. Mills suggested, and into the 21st century. Mr. Mills mentioned an $80,000 grant that was returned because it was simply forgotten about. This statement is totally false! Sheriff Hessler confirmed the grant money in question was from the Rural Underage Drinking grant to fund a half-time position for RUAD and patrol. Due to scheduling, not all of the grant money was used. Rather than being wasteful, dishonest and falsifying documentation, the money was returned.
Contrary to Mr. Mills' belief, not all cases need follow-up by a detective. The patrol deputies have the knowledge to collect evidence and solve crimes.
Finally, those who complain of a speed trap are violators upset because they were caught breaking the law. Most citizens in Columbia County are happy that the Sheriff's Office is out making traffic stops, slowing cars down and making our community safer.
It is obvious that Mr. Mills failed to conduct research prior to writing his letter. I hope he conducts better research before casting his vote.