U-B coverage of the Walla Walla Sheriff's Foundation meeting made me sad because it was incomplete and misleading.
Washington, D.C., shows us what happens when partisan politics are put before public good. This shouldn't happen in Walla Walla County. No department in county government may directly impact our families and quality of life more than the Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff John Turner and his officers patrol roads, answer calls for assistance outside and inside city limits, serve civil paperwork, monitor sexual offenders, staff the jail, provide security to schools and work as partners with other agencies in the county.
John Turner was elected by the majority of voters. Hopefully all elected officials support the majority's choice, even if they voted for someone else.
The Sheriff's Foundation is an organization of civic-minded individuals who are willing to donate their time, talents and funds to support WWSO goals. It is modeled after a successful law enforcement foundation in Kennewick.
I had not been to a meeting before, so I attended the Sept. 7 meeting. It was advertised that Sheriff Turner had been asked to address the group concerning the operation and needs of the Sheriff's Office. The sheriff gave an excellent overview of the department's challenges.
He showed a recording recently made here in Walla Walla of a young male being brutally beaten in a gang initiation. He gave direct quotes from Yakima County officials concerning their gang problems.
Walla Walla dispatch supervisor Steve Ruley spoke concerning poor communication equipment that makes it impossible for dispatchers to stay in contact with officers in the field and reviewed new federal mandates that take effect in 2012.
I wish every resident of the county could have heard the sheriff's talk. It outlined clearly his department's need for K-9s, equipment and more officers to adequately serve the public. He explained budget needs he's identified and suggested funding them by holding less reserves, changing priorities and generating revenue with an enhanced traffic division. He didn't endorse increasing taxes.
"For evil to prevail, all that is required is for good people to do nothing." Walla Walla County has gang and drug problems. We all live in a post-9/11 world. Murders, property crimes and sexual assaults happen here. We have a responsibility to support law enforcement officers. This should not be about partisan politics or some hidden good-ol'-boy network.
It's about safety!