Letter highlights Sheriff's Office division


WALLA WALLA — According to Walla Walla County Sheriff John Turner, the decision to hire a retired Los Angeles police officer, John King, to replace former Capt. Barry Blackman was difficult, “based on many factors.”

“It was made in the best interests of the Sheriff’s Office,” Turner said in a phone interview this morning.

The decision isn’t sitting well with Blackman, apparently, and the erstwhile captain took issue with the decision in a letter written to Turner in January, then forwarded to Walla Walla County commissioners Feb. 25, a day after Turner announced King’s hiring in a guest column that ran in the Union-Bulletin.

Perry Dozier, chairman of the county commission, said Blackman’s letter was the first he had heard of King’s appointment to Blackman’s position. He said that, legally, Turner can appoint anyone he deems appropriate.

“He can appoint or demote out of those (appointed) positions,” Dozier said, adding he has not, in his four years as commissioner, received a letter like Blackman’s.

Turner stated in his editorial letter, “John (King) announced his desire to move his family to the Pacific Northwest around the same time that Chief Deputy Barry Blackman was discussing his plans to retire.”

Turner added that King visited Walla Walla several times, and was eventually offered a position.

“Since then, we were also glad to hear that Barry Blackman has decided not to retire at this time,” Turner wrote. “He advised us that he would prefer to stay on the team a while longer and be reassigned to another supervisory position.”

Blackman’s letter, however, indicated that Blackman would prefer to remain in his current position, and that Blackman had not, in fact, announced any definite retirement plans.

Blackman pointed out that he had said he would retire if his wife, Chis Blackman, was elected as a county commissioner in the 2012 election.

“I realize it was stated that if my spouse were elected … I would retire at the earliest time I’m eligible, which would be October 2013,” Blackman wrote. “My wife was not elected to the office of county commissioner, so there will be no conflict (of interest), and therefore I have no plans to retire in the immediate future.”

Blackman also wrote that he was against an alleged promise to reinstate Blackman to the position of Chief Deputy if Undersheriff Edward Freyer retires and King were promoted to that position.

“I am emphatically opposed to that proposal,” Blackman wrote, later adding that would only increase confusion within the department.

“I understand that John King may be an attractive prospective staff member,” Blackman wrote, stating he had concerns about how the decision to demote him and hire another administrative staff member from outside the department would be received by the community and deputies.

“The message that would be received would be that you don’t feel that anyone within the agency … is good enough to be in your administration.”

When questioned about Blackman’s letter, which was dated Jan. 9, 2013, Turner said he could not comment on personnel matters, and restated the decision to hire King was difficult.

Turner also did not comment on whether Blackman’s reassignment to sergeant was filling a vacant position, or whether a new position would be created, and what, if any, salary changes Blackman could face.


cropcircles 2 years, 8 months ago

Turner's true character is coming out. It looks like he's been planning this all along. He wants the community to believe that its coincidence that Blackman retiring has created the opportunity for this new guy from LAPD to join his administration, but its a ruse. Now we're expected to believe that it's "difficult" and "based on many factors". That sure isn't how Turner presented the story in his own words last week. He now wants the comunity to believe that it maybe something else as he states that he can't speak about personnel matters. It's descipable.


tinstar 2 years, 8 months ago

It's very sad to see the Sheriff's Office so divided over issues, concerning staff. It appears to be getting worse all the time. First it was with Bill White, and Chad Pederson, and now Barry Blackman. I see that Chad has since left the department that He so much enjoyed working for, before Turner was elected. Now Turner brings in another former LAPD officer to add to the turmoil. This must be another campaign pledge that Turner made to King, since King suposedly contributed to Turner's campaign. As to all the Turner supporters, including Barry Blackman, who didn't see the handwritting on the wall, when Turner was running for office. Now may be these people and many more will realize that was a bad decision. It's also quite interesting that Turner said He couldn't comment on employee issues, concerning Barry. But He had no problem smearing Bill White a few months ago. The past two years must have been pure hell for the employee's of the Sheriff's Office. The next two will be even worse.


ImJustSayin 2 years, 8 months ago

Blah, blah, blah.... you guys don't have a clue. How about posting that you man'd up, called the Sheriff, and got the facts from him instead of heresay?


cropcircles 2 years, 8 months ago

HOw is it hearsay? Read Turner's letter. Read Blackman's letter dated two months prior to Turner's letter. How about Turner manning up and saying the truth. Dozier is right, Turner does have the power to appoint whoever he wants, when he wants. So why didn't Turner just say that. we wouldn't have to like it, but at least he would be telling the truth. instead its all smoke and mirrors and trying to blame Blackman for this. just man up Turner and stop lying


Iopine 2 years, 8 months ago

I would like to have a job that I could tell my boss that there is a possibility of a future retirement but just in case if it fall through I still want my job but I might just leave! Only in America and being in a union and expect to get your wishes through the gossip columns. Just with the hypotheticals he should have been gone and replaced as soon as possible.


tinstar 2 years, 8 months ago

ImJustSayin: it's very obvious that you do not know what you are talking about.You can't get the truth from the Sheriff. His truth changes on a moments notice, and depending on who he's trying buffalo.


ImJustSayin 2 years, 8 months ago

Says you..... for whatever that's worth.


mythoughts 1 year, 6 months ago

ImJustSayin, Don't let Tinstar get to you. Read the comments on the letter "Letter - Sheriff Turner’s integrity has earned him respect". Those coments show who is spreading truthful information and who isn't.


campbell_rd 1 year, 5 months ago

The simple solution is to compare the two deputies experience, John King and Barry Blackman. There is no real honest comparison. Walla Walla needed someone with real-time gang experience. John King has it and has done an outstanding job. Barry Blackman is an excellent officer but I don't see leadership abilities and his experience pales to that of Sheriff Turner and John King.


cropcircles 1 year, 4 months ago

32 years fighting crime and responding to the needs of those living in Walla Walla county is the best kind of experience Not sure why king left LA. Last time I checked LA still has a gang problem.


mythoughts 1 year, 4 months ago

I guess Kings experience in the FBI and working on the Polly Klass Abduction doesn't hold up to experience limited to Walla Walla or his law enforcement experience, or his higher education. Really?

Bottom line: the Sheriff has the right to hire whomever he feels the citizens of Walla Walla will get the best benefit from.

I wish I could tell my boss what position I want and when I want it.


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