The erosion of public safety, record deputy vacancies, and loss of community trust are unacceptable. I’m running for Sheriff to fight crime, restore morale, and rebuild trust. I will work hard to hold criminals accountable and bring justice to victims. I will listen and engage with our diverse community to ensure we have equitable and fair policing. I will fight to ensure deputies have the tools to keep you safe.
I understand that interactions with police can be life-changing – in good ways and bad. As a person of color who experienced poverty, domestic violence, and homelessness as a child, I deeply empathize with those experiencing the same. I will strive to serve everyone equitably and with the respect they deserve, while maintaining accountability.
Restore DUI Vehicular Pursuits
Despite the fact state law allows police to pursue intoxicated drivers, the current Sheriff has elected to not chase drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol because it is “not worth the risk”.
The decision by the Sheriff to not pursue and expeditiously remove intoxicated drivers from the road has directly contributed to the lawlessness we are currently experiencing in Thurston County.
Deputies are forced by department policy, not state law, to let fleeing DUI’s drive away and continue to endanger the motoring public.
Drunk drivers kill our friends and family members, while drivers high on narcotics are often the same people burglarizing our homes and stealing catalytic converters. We cannot afford to take a weak stance on intoxicated driving.
As your next Sheriff, Deputies will be empowered to aggressively remove fleeing intoxicated drivers off the road to preserve innocent life & property.
Domestic Violence Team
Domestic Violence accounts for a massive portion of the Sheriff’s Office call volume and investigatory resources as we work to protect victims and hold abusers accountable. General patrol Deputies regularly handle felonious domestic violence calls start to finish despite receiving very little ongoing training for domestic violence.
While the Prosecutor’s Office does their best to carve time out of their busy schedule to provide annual four hour training to Deputies, the training is not enough to deal with the ongoing, evolving challenges of domestic violence calls
As Sheriff, I will be asking the County Commissioners to fund two hybrid Deputy/Detective positions to serve as a Domestic Violence Response Team embedded within the patrol division. While it has been semi-regular for the Commissioners to fund two positions every year or two, I will ask that the next two positions be dedicated to forming this team. The DVR Team will be split up to work on each patrol team with the following goals and guidelines:
- Each hybrid Deputy will serve on a patrol team for maximum coverage
- DVR members will not count toward minimum patrol staffing. As a result, these hybrid Deputies will be able to:
- regularly attend advanced domestic violence training without scheduling conflicts become expert trainers to provide in service training to our patrol deputies
- build sustainable partnerships with local DV shelters/assistance programs, prosecutors, victim’s advocate groups, and non-profits
- build rapport with victims through the entire investigatory process from start to finish
- provide expert testimony at trial, working closely with the DV prosecutor team
- DVR members will be entitled to specialty pay and subject to callouts for felonious domestic disturbances, similar to a detective
- While general patrol will still assist on domestic calls, they will often be freed up sooner to handle other call types with the implementation of this team
Domestic Violence calls have far too great of an impact and frequency for Thurston County Sheriff’s Office not to have a dedicated team of highly trained investigators on hand to assist. I am confident the County Commissioners and Prosecutor’s Office will see the importance of having domestic violence prioritized through a dedicated team of investigators at TCSO.
HOPE – Homelessness Outreach and Program Engagement
Homelessness is a complex issue which will require a unified team effort amongst local jurisdictions to resolve. As a survivor of homelessness as a child, I recognize this issue will require a carefully balanced blend of both empathetic compassion and accountable enforcement with thorough documentation.
As Sheriff, I will promptly create the H.O.P.E. team consisting of two Deputies and two Social Workers. The team will work closely with city partners to address homelessness as a county wide issue with the following three step process:
- Empathy: Offer those experiencing homelessness with resources and immediate stability through housing, basic necessities, etc.
- Establish Rapport: The team will continue to reach out to those who refuse help, utilizing a “familiar faces” approach to build rapport and gain voluntary compliance. This phase will include full documentation of those who repeatedly decline assistance.
- Accountability: For those who decline assistance and choose to commit crimes, there will be full enforcement of existing state & local laws such as littering, exposure, trespass, disorderly conduct, etc. Even if these persons are booked & released, they will be repeatedly faced with same decision each time they are arrested: accept the help we are offering, or face accountability for committing crime in Thurston County.
Community Advisory Board
As your next Sheriff, Thurston County will establish a diversified, knowledgeable Community Advisory Board. The purpose of the board will be to bridge the gap between communitv members and our Sheriff’s Office, creating a structured opportunity for TCSO officials to utilize the group as an effective channel for diagnosing community needs, polling, and partnership opportunities.
Community Advisory Boards are showing up across the country, bolstering transparency between police agencies and the citizens they serve. The purpose is not to dictate police leaders, but instead utilize a team based approach to ensure community needs are regularly addressed in a formal setting.
A Thurston County Sheriff Community Advisory Board would be utilized in the following fashion:
- Routinely solicit feedback to TCSO leadership
- In partnership with employee unions, review discipline to ensure punishment is fair and consistent with core values
- Promotion of upcoming community events and partnership opportunities
Assist TCSO leadership in creating and critiquing policy
- Engage with rank and file Deputies, Corrections, and Support Staff for office needs The board would receive education on police tactics and best practices so they can make informed, reality based recommendations
Positions on the advisory board will rotate in staggered terms, and anyone who resides in or owns a business within Thurston County would be eligible to apply. Positions will be split into precincts, with consideration taken to ensure the board is diversified to reflect our community.
An advisory board has the ability to allow TCSO to connect and promote the Sheriff’s Office to our community in new ways not currently attainable through antiquated community outreach efforts. As we progress to the future of law enforcement, citizens deserve a seat at the table.
Fund Our K9 Program
Did you know our K9 program relies on donations to operate?
Despite only costing approximately $15,000 to fund each dog, the Sheriff’s Office has declined to fund the positions, requiring handlers to seek donors to keep our K9’s
As sheriff, I will fully fund our K9 program so our handlers can focus on the task at hand: locating dangerous criminals.
K9 Unit, 2019 – Present:
- 336 Deployments, including:
- 231 K9 Tracks
- 30 building searches
- 6 SWAT deployments
- 96/108 evidence searches successfully located criminal evidence
- 123 Captures
- 39 bites
- Bite to Capture ratio of just 16.9%
The K9 Program deserves the full support of the Sheriff’s Office.