WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office has had a recent influx of new personnel, including incoming Chief Deputy John King and Deputy Christopher Johnson, a recent graduate of Basic Law Enforcement Academy.
Sheriff John Turner spoke highly of both men during a roundtable meeting Thursday night at Walla Walla High School.
“It’s pretty exciting the quality of people that want to work at the Sheriff’s Office,” Turner told the mostly retirement-age audience.
Turner also addressed recent trends in area crime and various programs and projects the Sheriff’s Office is involved in, including a new partnership with the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department.
The partnership stemmed from concerns local cattlemen brought to the sheriff’s attention about wolf predation of livestock. Turner said often Wildlife officials aren’t able to respond quickly enough, resulting in inconclusive identification of wolf attacks.
“We’re more than happy to help out,” Turner said, adding two sergeants and the crime analyst technician attended training to help identify wolf attacks.
Turner also addressed concerns about school safety following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The Sheriff’s Office, Turner said, has approached administrators at each school, and deputies have started conducting “Walk and Talks” at each of the schools. Deputies are developing rapport with students and staff, and becoming more accustomed to each campus, according to Turner.
Turner also spoke about a recent increase in stolen vehicles, neighborhood watch efforts, planned training scenarios for emergency preparedness, and manning weigh stations in Walla Walla county with Sheriff’s Office Deputies.