LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: John Turner is most qualified

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This letter is in response to a recent letter comparing John Turner's qualifications to Bill White's qualifications to be our sheriff.

Tom McKeown wrote of the process to become a deputy. He implied that John Turner has never had to go through the same process. I doubt McKeown has even met Turner.

As a Los Angeles policeman, Turner completed an academy that many other states, including Washington, have always emulated -- a more rigorous and demanding academy than the one White completed.

Turner attended USC and obtained degrees in public administration with an emphasis in criminal justice. He performed many duties such as training officer, gang unit, fugitive detail, undercover investigations, self-defense instructor, use of force review and others. He was also a senior lead officer with community-based policing. He later earned a law degree and defended police officers and agencies from lawsuits.

McKeown implies Turner's service as a civilian imbedded with the military was less patriotic than the soldiers he served with. I know local corrections and law enforcement officers who also went to Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they simply motivated by financial gain? That's insulting. Does he forget the four "civilians" hanging from the bridge in Fallujah?

I've been with the Sheriff's Office for 28 years, 18 as a supervisor. I've worked under four sheriffs and observed different leadership styles. I've worked around Bill White all that time and have seen his strengths and weaknesses.

I met John Turner about six years ago. We've had many discussions about ideas for running a law enforcement agency the size of our Sheriff's Office and serving a community like ours. His ideas are fresh, realistic and reasonable and are more than "rhetoric."

His ideas will allow our Sheriff's Office to grow with our community.

Tom McKeown and others seem to believe that simply being with our office for 31 years makes White the best candidate for sheriff. If that logic were true then the other candidate, who has been with our office for more than 34 years, would be the choice. We don't promote the most senior deputies to be supervisors based on their tenure with the office, we promote based on qualifications.

Turner's experience and background give him the superior qualifications to be sheriff.

I like Bill and look forward to continuing working with him, but I believe the best choice for our next sheriff is John Turner.

Barry Blackman

Walla Walla

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