This letter is in response to a misleading article in Thursday's paper titled "Sheriff seeks huge budget hike."
As an attendee of that meeting, I felt it was important to bring the truth to light. Andy Porter wrote that the meeting "was supposed to be a meeting to introduce the Walla Walla Sheriff's Foundation" but "Sheriff John Turner instead unveiled his intention to ask for a $2 million increase in his budget."
This statement is not true. The public invitation published in the newspaper prior to the meeting very clearly explained the meeting's purpose "to learn more about the equipment, supplies, infrastructure and other needs of the Sheriff Foundation committees, including, but not limited to, the fundraising committee and the public relations committee."
That is exactly what happened. Of course, equipment, supplies and infrastructure have a price tag.
The sheriff laid out an end goal that can be achieved through public/private partnership, grants and contributions from the Foundation. He repeatedly emphasized that goal would be reached using creative funding sources including, but not exclusively tax revenue. He absolutely did not hijack what turned out to be an excellent meeting.
He and his command staff have over 145 years of experience in this line of work.
Together, for the last eight months, they have used this experience to look at the status of our community, its rising violent crime, rising gang problem and the overall state of the Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Turner has stated it is his job to ask for the people, equipment and training that will allow the Sheriffs Office to operate most effectively, yet he has acknowledged it is not his job to determine what amount he receives.
He obviously does not take a denial of his budget requests personally and is committed to do the very best he can with the final budget he receives from the county commissioners.