I have 37 years of law enforcement experience and I have consulted to dozens of law enforcement agencies so I am confident in my ability to spot "deadwood."
I have seen things that make me ill at the performance of Sheriff Hessler. I have seen the judges openly chastise the deputies for their sloppy police work. I have seen very poor report writing (several times) and even failing to get reports to the prosecutor prior to trials!
I have seen one deputy who continually fails to get a search warrant (same drug agent over and over again) another deputy has a penchant for falling asleep in court. One deputy missed a loaded rifle on the backseat of a vehicle while he was doing a traffic stop on a wanted subject.
I read about the sheriff claiming that Washington does not have a no smoking ordinance. It is a law. The office continually fails to follow up on open cases, or even to collect witness names much less statements and their closure rate (closed by arrest) is the lowest in the state.
Hessler states that defense tactics and weapons training are his biggest issues. Let's try report writing, evidence collection and crime scene interviews and follow up investigations for starters.
All of the above would be severely disciplined in any other department, and a few would be fired. What good deputies we have we are losing. Two have left and three are testing for other agencies.
Do the math at $50,000 to $100,000 to train a good officer, the price is steep. Note that doesn't include the reserves who have also left. Now throw in the poor radio procedures, the failure to obtain readily accessible grants and then to implement them (that would be your K-9 unit), the efforts to cover up department problems are all signs of huge problems.
And according to the Washington crime statics, crime has gone up in Columbia County every year under Hessler.
While I am not a fan of Mark Franklin I do believe he is a huge step in the right direction. It's time for a new leader before we lose the few good officers we have left. Vote for Mark Franklin.