I am in my 34th year with the Sheriff’s Office where I have worked in and commanded every division within the agency. I’m a graduate of the Washington Law Enforcement Command College and hold an Executive Level Career Certification.
As your Sheriff, I am responsible for managing a $10 million dollar yearly budget with 90 full-time employees and 75-100 volunteers. A Major Crimes Division, Emergency Management Division, a 200-bed corrections facility, where we ensure mental illness and drug addiction treatment and services are provided. Finally, our patrol division, responsible for traffic safety, emergency response, crime prevention, the apprehension of criminals, and Search & Rescue.
The county has some big challenges ahead, the continuing impacts of a pandemic, unprecedented restrictions of our civil liberties, and significant population growth. I am well prepared to continue providing public safety to our community as we address these challenges.
Increased Service to the Upper County
The Upper County is the current priority for increased infrastructure. Leading change means vision, anticipating impacts, and action. Our plans for the Upper County include:
- Moving Search & Rescue to the Upper County to reduce response times and reduce costs
- Establish a west precinct to improve services and reduce crime
- Look for opportunities to increase partnerships with Upper County fire and police departments to mitigate costs and limit redundancies
Inter-Agency Communication and Cooperation
I will maintain and look to increase cooperation and communication between Kittitas County law enforcement agencies. Currently we:
- Host monthly Law Enforcement CEO meetings (local, state and federal agencies)
- Host monthly Chiefs & Prosecutor meeting (Sheriff, CWU, EPD, CPD, KPD)
- Host Annual State Sheriff’s meeting (all Sheriffs, FBI, and WSP Chief)
- Host monthly joint special response team training (county, city, and campus officers)
- Participate in monthly investigators meetings (local and state detectives)
- Participate in regional law enforcement meetings (area cities and counties)
- Participate in annual joint reserve officer academy (sheriff and local police)
- Participate in narcotics and complex investigations (sheriff, local police and CWU)
Addressing Mental Health and Addiction
Mental health and addiction are among the top issues currently affecting law enforcement. We have addressed this head-on and continue to look for avenues to address these issues. These include:
- Changed the jail structure to better serve the addicted inmate population
- Initiated new programs to enhance medically assisted treatment for inmates
- Working to develop and support a mental health diversion program to address patient inmates out of the standard criminal justice system which is not designed for them
- Increased training in identifying different types of mental illness
- Increased training in best practices for responding to mental health calls
- Partnered with Public Health to provide equipment and training to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses
- Support funding programs to enhance linked programs that take inmates seamlessly from incarceration through treatment and recovery
Increasing Public Trust
It’s no secret that trust between police and the public is at one of the lowest points in our country’s history. We have been proactive in addressing this issue by:
- Changed the historical command structure and business model to enhance transparency and accountability
- Created a Compliance Officer position to ensure operational and administrative compliance across the board
- Established a compliance position to ensure best practices policy and training on the use of force
- Increased training on de-escalation, use of force, and identifying mental illness
- Increased training and equipment to provide less than lethal options
- Support independent investigations on the use of deadly force
- Established transparent systems for tracking and investigating complaints and violations
- Established a new community connect program to create sustainable and direct communication between our deputies and the public they serve
Violent Crime and Gang-related Crime
Kittitas County is not immune to gang-related crime. In fact, three of the last five homicides in our county were gang-related. To reduce violent crime, we have:
- Increased training in recognizing and responding to illegal gang activity
- Expansion of criminal intelligence reporting among local and regional law enforcement
- Continued participation in state and federal illegal gang activity reporting
- Modified the investigative approach to homicide to a “First 48” response
What I Support and Don’t Support
- I support freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. I do not support intimidation, violence, or property damage as a mechanism for change.
- I do support our constitutional amendments, including the 2nd and especially the 4th. I do not support changing any rights into privileges.
- I do support background checks and prohibiting violent criminals from possessing firearms. I do not support the seizure of personal property without due process.
- I do support holding individuals accountable for their actions. I do not support punishing someone for the independent actions of someone else.
- I do support programs that reduce recidivism. I do not support providing more protection, support, or resources to convicted violent criminals than to their victims.
- I do support using the amount of force a suspect forces you to use. I do not support using any more force than is necessary.
- I do support alternatives to incarceration (electronic monitoring, diversion, day reporting, school & work release, etc.) I do not support circumventing a trial judge’s sentencing decision to manage prison costs.
- I do support task forces to create issue-specific solutions. I do not support general or standing task forces to implement those solutions.
- I do support joint investigations, proactive enforcement, and street crimes units.