This letter is a response to Sheriff Turner’s decision to hire John King as operations chief.
The decision to reassign our current operations chief, Barry Blackman — which is a demotion to sergeant — has raised concerns. Why bring a new guy in when everything is status quo? And I mean that in a good sense of the definition.
Undersheriff Ed Freyer has not indicated he is leaving the position, and Barry has only weighed the possibility of retirement pending the election of his wife, Chris, to county commissioner, which did not happen.
Both of these positions are currently held by two very capable people without any request by either to vacate their posts. And now they have a third person, who is set to take the reins from Barry. We are being assured John King is able to do the job, but why? Sheriff Turner says it is “based on many factors.”
I have long known Barry for his honesty, hard-work ethic and dedication to anything he does, especially his job. I would find it difficult to believe if any of those factors are performance-based.
Barry has been with the department for 30 years and worked his way up the ranks to become a critical part of the administration. He earned his spot, and many would have supported him for sheriff if he so desired.
With the dedication he has given the department and to Sheriff Turner, one would think it would be best to keep Barry doing what he does best, operations chief.
When he does decide to retire, he is the kind of person who will give you a firm heads up on his decision and would mentor his replacement.
In the meantime, Sheriff Turner should be glad to have personnel such as Barry serving the community and foster his dedication, not demote them.