Letter - Turner’s leadership, integrity, honesty questioned


What’s a person to think?

We know that Sheriff John Turner was a Los Angeles cop with a law degree and is an Obama-like orator. His supporters have written many letters praising his leadership, integrity and honesty, and he has assured us that he is not at fault, not a smidgen, for any of those negative claims against him.

But if he is blameless, how is it that he has alienated most, if not all, elected officials he has worked with?

If he’s a good leader, why so many problems with his deputies; and if he has integrity, why did he drum out of office Bill White and only those deputies who supported White?

Perhaps these questions will be answered.

This letter addresses Turner’s false reporting of Tom Cooper’s work-related injury.

Not only is Turner’s public disclosure of his deputy’s Labor and Industry claim highly improper, but it is false, defamatory and purely political. Turner and his supporters are spreading the false rumor that Cooper is a malingerer, hasn’t worked since September 2012 and thus is not worthy to be our sheriff.

This malicious attack on Cooper’s character should tell you something about Turner’s character.

Tom Cooper is a 25-year veteran deputy with an exemplary record, respected by his peers — being elected president of both the Commissioned Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. He suffered a work-related injury, had surgery on Sept. 20, 2012, therapy and returned to work full time on Dec. 5, 2012, contrary to Turner’s representation.

He suffered an aggravation of his injury and placed on light duties by his doctor; his condition improved to moderate duties, which he performed continuously until April 3, 2013, when he was told to go home as Turner was no longer accepting limited-duty work.

Was it just a coincidence that his firing occurred shortly after he gave notice of his candidacy for sheriff on March 23, 2013?

Turner then immediately hired his L.A. friend John King (contrary to his campaign promise), appointing him captain, reducing Barry Blackman to sergeant and Cooper’s position was filled.

Thus, in effect, Turner fires Cooper and now defames him for not having a job!

Is this the leadership, integrity and honesty we want in a sheriff?

Jerry Votendahl

Walla Walla


cropcircles 7 months, 4 weeks ago

No it is not the type of leader we want running the Sheriff's office. Send Turner a message this August - go back to LA.


mythoughts 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Another letter from someone who wants special treatment in Walla Walla. Oh, wait, he already got a slap on the wrist for drunk driving and still a Judge. He knows integrity and honesty??? I don't think so.


Grandma76032 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I remember that Jerry Votendahl was censured by his judicial review board for unethical behavior during the last sheriff's race. I also remember that he's the former judge who was arrested for DUI while in office. This letter sounds like he's the same ole guy. Since I just saw Bill White driving his patrol car the other day, obviously he wasn't drummed out of office. And we the public certainly have a right to question how Tom Cooper, who seems to stay off work with one "injury" after another and claims he can't work nights could possibly protect us as our sheriff. Everyone I know who's met chief deputy John King says he's a very competent, professional cop and a real asset to the sheriff's dept. He and John Turner seem to be quite able to response to emergencies at night and stay physically sound enough for their jobs.


Igor 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Good Letter Jerry! Though I've never met Sheriff Turner, my impression is that he's an extremely poor manager. Anyone that has his Department in constant turmoil from almost the beginning of his tenure does not deserve reelection. You can't run a department the way he has with all the continual strife and discord.

He's overspent his budget and has cost the County an ungodly amount of money defending all the administrative complaints lodged by his underlings. Moreover, he doesn't seem to be able to get along with the County Commissioners either. They've called him out on numerous occasions, even to the point of calling him a liar.

Part of being a good leader and being a good Department Head is instilling confidence and respect in your subordinates. Instead, by all indications, he has ripped his Department apart.

Murders are up, crime is up, and it doesn't seem that he has done much of anything to halt the escalation. And he was supposed to the "expert" in combating gang violence? Not from what I've seen.

Also, Jerry, I rise to your defense on the DUI. DUI is not a crime of moral turpitude and when you served as Judge, you were probably the best District Court Judge our County has ever had.

Good on you, Jerry, for your letter, and I hope that the voters will heed your pleas and listen. Can't fight crime with a law enforcement agency in turmoil. As one who served, if you don't have trust in your Commander, then the unit can't function. A good commander knows how to unify his troops.

Turner needs to go back to L.A.


CoachG 7 months, 3 weeks ago

FACT: Crime is down almost 20% year to date FACT: Sheriff John Turner has not once gone over budget since taking office FACT: I worked with Sheriff Turner on "Preventing Gang Membership Through Prevention" a two year study conducted by the Walla Walla Community Council. Sheriff Turner is the only candidate with a plan to combat our gang problem

Please take the time to take a look at his website and come to a meet and great and voice your concerns straight to the mans face.....


campbell_rd 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Here we go again, same old smear campaign. Small mis-stated facts, innuendos, and feelings. If Tom Cooper were so dedicated why isn't he working now? As a volunteer I spend a lot of time at the sheriff's office, I have never seen Mr Cooper. There is a rule of law that states an employee can only work so many months on light duty. Where is the evidence of all the strife in the Sheriff's office? Everyone I talk to there is happy with Sheriff Turner. And once again the lie of his overspending his budget, that is not true and has been proven over and over again. When you compare experience and education, there is no question that Sheriff Turner is the only real choice. Let me also add that he has worked with our local Walla Walla Search and Rescue so that they are very well respected in the State and very well trained. I know that if Sheriff Turner is re-elected Walla Walla will remain as it is now, a much safer place to live. I don't see where any other candidate has shown where they can provide better protection, especially from gang activity. So shall we stick to facts, not smears in this campaign and act like adults?


tinstar 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Finally the truth comes out about Mr.Turner. It is well over due. The Citizens of Walla Walla County deserve a lot better. Cambell Road apparently has his eyes closed, and has no idea what It takes to run a office. Currently we have a person who talks a lot and wants everyone to believe him. Well it is quite apparent He has no clue as to handling gany issues, employee issues and a lot more. It is time the Citizens send him down the road.


downhillracer 7 months, 3 weeks ago

More a contrived hit piece that is short on facts and long on the good ol' boys club.


namvet60 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Safer place to live? Two gang shoot-em-ups with in a week in the city.


Igor 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Right on! As usual, we are on the same track. I served in the Nam too, 1969. Lost lots of good friends to snipers and rockets and I will forever hate the Dems for buggin' out and leavin' my li'l gook pals to twist in the wind. Our darkest moment. The whole thing made me wonder, is there a destructive progressive gene? Where everything our government does is wrong? Good on you Nam Vet! I love your thoughtful comments.


CoachG 7 months, 3 weeks ago

FACT: Crime is down almost 20% year to date FACT: Gangs have been in Walla Walla for quite some time they just didn't show up in the last 4 years FACT: John Turner is the County Sheriff and this latest shooting took place in the City of Walla Walla and was handled well because of the coordination between Chief Bieber and Sheriff Turner

When all is said and done, Walla Walla is in fact a safer place to live than 4 years ago. Under Sheriff Turner's leadership, 24 hour 7 days a week patrols, 2 K9 units have helped reduce crime. I have personally talked with officers that stand behind Sheriff Turner and have testified to the FACT that moral in the Department is better than in the past.


mythoughts 7 months, 3 weeks ago

We could always go back to before Turner was Sheriff, and have no one doing anything about the crime and no one reporting on the crimes.
I worked at the hospital before Turner was Sheriff and saw many crimes that were never printed in the paper. Violent Crimes.
Yes, lets go back to that. You could let your daughters, wives, and mothers walk to their car after work at night thinking Walla Walla is some sweet non-violent town until they end up in the emergency room. But don't worry, no one will find out about it.


barracuda 7 months, 3 weeks ago

This is going to be a long, long. LONG time until elections............

I just hope the supporters who's candidate wins/looses can handle the final outcome!


dloudermilk 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Barracuda: you are so right! In the past 3 plus years I have observed Sheriff Turner do things and have issues within his department that have made me cringe. But I have also seen him do things that prove to me that he is doing a good job. I have talked with Deputies and City Police officers about the job the Sheriff is doing, and the ones I have talked with say he is doing a good job for his department, in managing his department. He has provided new updated equipment. He has provided 24/7 coverage by a new deployment work shedule of the resources he has. I was talking with a deputy the other day and asked him about the new shift roll call and if it was really that important, and he said that it was very useful in that the deputies come to work together and exchange information and are able to recieve training on a daily basis. He also stated he's recieved more training in the last 3 years than in the previous 10 years at the department. Turner has made himself available to the citizens with his roundtables and the numerous meet and greets. I attended one such roundtable in which a citizen was very unhappy with the response he was getting concerning a theft case and Sheriff Turner listened to the complaint and assured the citizen he would take care of his concerns. Sheriff Turner has the newly established Sheriffs Foundation who raised monies for the purchase of 2 K-9s for use in the county. I can only speculate why a few of the deputies are so bent on getting rid of Sheriff Turner, maybe the new sheriff is not so much of the good ole boys club and holding people accountable . Purely speculation on my part. I have looked at the websites of all three candidates, for someone in a department for so many years as the other two candidates there aren't many certifications in law enforcement courses. There will be more opportunities for voters to learn about the candidates and I hope you do, be informed and choose the candidate whom you choose to support and be sure to vote. It's so sad that we have such low voter turnout percentages.


mythoughts 7 months ago

Research the Sheriff candidates instead of listening to rumors and half truths. Here are some links to go to:

Link to the Sheriff Candidates Forum that was held in Touchet June 24, 2014.

Here are the links to the interviews done by the radio station KUJ. Just scroll down the page until you find each candidate (John Turner, Barry Blackman, Tom Cooper). http://kujam.com/common/page.php?id=52


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