Letter - Sheriff Turner’s debate question was mean-spirited


If you weren’t able to attend the sheriff’s debate at Whitman College Wednesday night, you missed a great opportunity to hear all three candidates discuss some very important issues pertaining to the Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office and our community.

Tom Cooper and Barry Blackman discussed the low morale within the office, leadership by intimidation and half truths under the current administration. Exorbitant expenditures by the current sheriff were also discussed by both Cooper and Blackman.

Interestingly, Sheriff John Turner felt all was going pretty well.

Each candidate was provided the opportunity to submit a question to be asked of the other candidates. While Cooper and Blackman addressed issues of the campaign, the current sheriff’s question to his opponents was not a subject matter the other candidates would have been in a position to know the answer.

Turner only knew because he is currently the sheriff and as such, was provided the information by the state or Sheriff’s Association.

The question was just mean-spirited and he knew they were not in a position to know the answer to the question.

It was clear to many at the debate it was submitted to humiliate and embarrass his two opponents.

Cooper and Blackman’s allegations of Turner’s style of leadership by intimidation and retaliation appear to be spot on. I would consider this bullying Mr. Turner!

Michelle Cardenas

Walla Walla


cropcircles 11 months, 1 week ago

The question was in regard to a recent case law regarding whether or not police should be allowed to use 2nd hand information in the probable cause of arrests. The problem is that Turner didn't provide the specifics of the case just the citations - someone vs Ortega. So unless you are reading case law everyday or applying this particular case, no police office would know it's contents. Blackman asked for some specifics so he could actually answer the question regarding the merits of the court's finding; Cooper said he'd been gone for 20 months and didn't know.

Bottom line - it was a gotcha question and I agree with the writer of this letter. If the case were that important, then there would have been a directive from Turner, the state or the PA's office to provide training on it's merit and application. But that hasn't happened. Had Turner provided a brief description like I just did (which took 30 seconds on Google) then the voters would be able to hear fromBlackman and Cooper their thoughts on it.

Blackman did try. He thought that it might have had something to do with the DV laws and the required arrests. He wasn't correct but atleast we got to hear that he takes an aggressive stance on DV and believes that the aggressor should be arrested in order to give loved ones an opportunity to figure out the next steps.


Hersey 11 months, 1 week ago

Thank you, Cropcircles. I attempted to listen to the debate, but the sound quality was pretty bad and I eventually gave up.


clarkfamily89 11 months, 1 week ago

Turner playing his typical game. Hopefully people vote smart this election and cast a vote for anyone on the ballot other than Mr. Turner. He was a proven to be untrustworthy before the last election and Walla Walla voters still made the choice to vote for him and now again he is proven to not be very honest or fourth coming so hopefully the voters will be wiser this time around.


Grandma76032 11 months, 1 week ago

So I am getting from these comments that not staying up on the latest developments in one's chosen profession is viewed as a good thing? And if Mr. Cooper hasn't been staying up on the latest legal opinions and trends related to law enforcement, he is totally unqualified for the job. Sheriff Turner has proved to be very honest and transparent during his term. The man clearly deserves a second term and is the only qualified candidate.


mythoughts 11 months, 1 week ago

The point of the question as I saw it was that the Sheriff also must have legal expertise to assist deputies with current laws so they may abide by them.


Chas 11 months, 1 week ago

Excellent question. The Sheriff's Office is not the font of knowledge of law and precedent. The County Prosecutor holds that position and the Sheriff relies upon their good judgment.

Law and Justice are too often confused. Law and enforcement are NOT decided by the Sheriff Office but the County Prosecutor. Judges sign warrants, deputies are Officers of the Court seeking evidence of crime and delivering Papers for the County Clerk, Prosecutors (lawyers) seek legal compliance to our laws and regulations, if necessary before a Judge. Wrongs are adjudged by the Court.

A Sheriff must : jail, transfer, cite, arrest for violations, hold custody of prisoners before trial (remember, we're innocent before Trial) and incarcerate criminals under the Order of the Court. They are Officers of the Court and are sworn to uphold the Law, not make it.

mythoughts are well intended, I understand them, I may have had the better Civics teacher.


PearlY 11 months, 1 week ago

I don't understand. Aren't both of Sheriff Turner's challengers law enforcement employees of the Sheriff's Office? If the case Sheriff Turner was asking about was important to the performance of their duties, it would seem to me that it is his responsibility to see that his subordinates are current in their training.


WOW 11 months, 1 week ago

Spot on PearlY and Chas. @ mythoughts with you being the Sheriff should know that any and all Sheriff's consult with the PA's office.. Well if they are worth their salt, that is..


mythoughts 11 months, 1 week ago

Lol. Me being the Sheriff? LOVE IT! LOL


mythoughts 11 months ago

Pearly yes they are employees of the Sheriff's Office and all the deputies were trained on this. Apparently both of the candidates didn't think it was important enough to pay attention.


cropcircles 11 months ago

No they were not trained. Well, let me qualify that with the three Sgts and five deputies I spoke with. No directive from Turner or the PA. ? No training or mention of it at all.


mythoughts 11 months ago

Whatever cropcircles. Keep spreading your misinformation.


Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in