10/05/2010: "LETTERS ON SHERIFF'S RACE"
To the Editor:
I have read letters from both sides stating the writers’ minds regarding the race for Sheriff of San Juan County. Many of those letters came from people who were not here when I began my career as a San Juan County Deputy Sheriff, nearly twenty years ago.
Both of the candidates have qualities I like and respect. I’ve heard both speak in open forum and during personal conversations. They both have their own views as to where the department can or should go for the future. And, as some have said, they seem to be nearly equal in abilities and experience. I want to outline the difference as I see it.
While Johnson does have more than 20 years of policing, it was with the big city police department of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which had approximately 400,000 inhabitants in 2000, almost thirty times the size of San Juan County. He supervised a team of officers which was likely larger than the entire San Juan County Sheriff’s Office patrol staff. He reported to a shift Lieutenant and a Sector Commander. He brings with him all those beliefs of how to maintain order in a large city.
In contrast, Rob was most recently Police Chief for the rural city of Burns, Oregon. There he administered a department of four to five officers and a regional communications center. Prior to being Chief in Burns, he spent more than 20 years with the Yamhill County, Oregon, Sheriff Department, reaching the level of sergeant. He also built and administered their “Crash Team”, which responded to critical collisions with five to twelve on call officers.
Rob has an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice, from Los Angeles Valley College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon College of Education. He was also selected to and attended the FBI National Academy, achieving the highest level of education for law enforcement command individuals. He regularly attends ongoing update education with the academy.
Having worked side by side with Rob Nou for a little over two years, I’ve observed him scold, council, teach and learn. He has integrated himself into the Lopez Island community on several levels, often wearing his various hats of deputy, fire fighter, and EMT, and because of this, and because of his personal nature, he has earned the support and respect of the entire community.
A little over two years ago, Rob came for a visit at the request of his Orcas Island friend, Deputy Bruce Distler. He fell in love with the islands and the lifestyle. He has made the commitment to give the islands everything he has, and he has done that every day. He is not from a huge agency in an immense city. His professional life has been spent in smaller communities and rural surroundings. He is dedicated to making and keeping the islands safe, as we have known them to be.
I firmly believe Rob Nou IS what it takes to be our next Sheriff of San Juan County.
Deputy Sheriff, San Juan County
To the Editor:
We are writing to urge you to vote for Brent Johnson for Sheriff. As current and former Victim Advocates in the Prosecutor’s Office, we have personally witnessed three solid reasons to elect Brent. As an investigator, Brent has been:
1. Professional. Brent will NOT be a “good ol’ boy” Sheriff. He is well trained and does the job of San Juan County lead detective with a high level of competence, confidence, and integrity.
2. Thorough. Brent is aware that the tiniest detail can make or break a case, and he is willing to go the extra mile to do the most complete investigation possible.
3. Kind. Brent consistently conducts himself with respect, whether dealing with defendants, victims, witnesses, or other professionals. We have often requested Brent be assigned to conduct victim interviews because he is so consistently professional, thorough, and kind.
San Juan County needs a Sheriff with these qualities, and, in our experience, Brent is the person for the job.
To the Editor:
Our local papers say both of our Sheriff s candidates are pretty equal, when it comes to their answers to questions put to them at forums or by the papers, so let me tell you why I think Brent Johnson is the clear choice for our next Sheriff.
I have been with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office for 22+ years. I have had the pleasure of working with Brent Johnson for the last 8 years. I was immediately impressed with Brent when he first moved to the San Juans. Brent had just completed a 20 year career with the Albuquerque Police Department. He was loyal to that department and community and continued to work his way up the ranks and work hard to make his community a better place to live.
After retiring with his 20 years in, he bought a home in the San Juans and moved here with his wife and daughter. He tried to be retired but loved police work too much. He became our lead detective and has worked tirelessly for our community.
Brent has been involved in or personally solved 90% of the major cases in the San Juans in the last 8 years. People ask why they don't know don't know who Brent is, it's because he is in his office working hard or out following up on a case. He doesn't make a big deal out of it or try for any glory or headlines. His office is next door to mine and I have watched him work tirelessly on cases, not just in solving it, but in convincing the Prosecutors office it needs to go forward with it and getting what they need to win the case in court.
Brent is already familiar with everyone in the main Office. He works regularly with our deputies, dispatchers and evidence techs. He already knows and works personally with our Prosecutors, Superior Court Judges and staff and our District Court Judges and staff. He already works regularly with our Corrections Officers, Adult Parole and Probation and Department of Corrections. Oh, and he really understands how our Detective division works and what it needs to be better.
When it comes to dealing with outside agencies Brent already deals with our local Customs, Border Patrol, D.E.A., Coast Guard, F.B.I. and is on a first name basis with people from most of these agencies. He is a local volunteer firefighter and works with the local Red Cross, as well other numerous local volunteer groups. As the father of a teen age daughter he is totally committed to making the San Juans the safest place possible to raise a teen.
Over the years I have know officers who moved from department to department as higher positions or ranks became available. Brent Johnson is not that officer. He worked hard for Albuquerque for 20 years doing his best to improve the department and community. When he is elected our next Sheriff he will give us years of dedicated service, improving our department and community ... and that's the difference that makes Brent Johnson the best candidate for Sheriff.
Sgt. Scott Brennan
San Juan County Sheriff s office
I believe it is time for long overdue change within the Sheriff’s office and that is why I am supporting Rob Nou for County Sheriff. There are divisions within the department that have been encouraged by the current leadership (as evidenced by the letter wars waged during the primary) that need to be repaired to ensure that the citizens of this county receive the kind of service they deserve from the men and women whose focus should be on serving the public they have sworn to protect. I believe that the candidate best suited to do this is Rob Nou.
There are some who believe that because Rob is relatively new to the area he is not ready to be our County Sheriff. I believe that it is precisely because of this that he will be able to bring a much needed new perspective to this office.
San Juan County is faced with decreasing revenues and the Sheriff’s Department will be challenged with finding ways to deal with this. I believe Rob has the background and management experience to be able to find ways to work with these diminishing resources and still provide the level of service this county deserves.
After spending time talking with Rob and listening to his ideas I am convinced that he is the best candidate for the job. I will be voting for Rob Nou and encourage others to do the same.
To the Editor:
Ballots have been mailed and I strongly recommend voting for Brent Johnson.
Like you, in weighing the candidates, I try hard to make the best judgment.
Marketing slogans, advertising, position papers, well-honed stump speeches and carefully crafted press releases can only tell us so much and, many times, steer us from the real issues.
I look for sincerity, community commitment and experience in both academic training and the real world workplace. Brent Johnson demonstrates that he has honed his training working with prosecuting attorneys to investigate cases and prepare them for Grand Juries, supervising in a large-city police department for 21 years, serving as lead detective for San Juan County for the past eight years, handling budget and supervisory responsibilities for a 17-member sector of deputies and amassing important experience in dealing with drug abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence issues.
Brent is a “what you see is what you get” man, both personally and professionally. I know him as a caring father and as a sensitive, insightful detective who I watched handle delicate issues with minors with grace and sensitivity but also with strict attention to his duties.
He is a modest man who demonstrates commitment to family and the community every day. He is a strong advocate for women’s rights and neighborhood watch programs. He is a dedicated professional who has clear ideas on how to improve our community’s drug and substance abuse problems, particularly with our island teen and preteen students. He has been forthright about the problems facing the Sheriff’s department and has shown that when he doesn’t have all the answers, he is not afraid to admit it and welcomes dialogue from various avenues of support.
Please join me in voting for Brent Johnson for Sheriff.
San Juan Island
To the Editor:
As a former County Commissioner and a member of SJC’s Veterans’ Advisory Board, I’ve worked with Brent Johnson and witnessed his leadership qualities, his personal and professional integrity, and his ability to deal with high-pressure scenarios. Brent’s work in law enforcement over three decades -the experiential side of his college degree in law and justice- is both broad and deep: working with prosecuting attorneys to invesigate cases and prepare them for Grand Juries; supervising in a large-city police dept. for 21 years; Lead Detective for San Juan County for the past 8 years; budget and supervisory responsibilities for a 17-member sector of deputies; expert experience in dealing with drug abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence issues; Instructor for the Albuquerque Police Academy; and service with the Joint Chiefs in the Pentagon.
This experience is matched by Brent’s commitment to our community, where he’s the Chair of the Veterans’ Advisory Board, a volunteer fire fighter, a Trustee for the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Services, a member of the Island Red Cross, and a strong advocate for women’s rights, school drug and alcohol abuse-prevention partnerships, and neighborhood watch programs.
We have two good candidates in the current race for Sheriff, but I’m convinced that Brent Johnson is, by a very wide margin, the best qualified to become the next San Juan County Sheriff. Please join me in voting him into this office.
To the Editor:
My wife and I have known Rob Nou since 1990. My wife was working as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher at the Yamhill County Communications Center. Rob was a Patrol Sergeant at the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office. He was the one Sergeant who all of the dispatchers preferred to work with because of his thoroughness and leadership.
In 1993 I was hired as a Deputy Sheriff and was assigned to the West Valley Station, working with Rob as my immediate supervisor. During my early years I was able to observe Rob handling “day to day” contacts with the public, elected city officials, victims and suspects. The one thing that I enjoyed and learned was the constancy Rob displayed with his even, quiet approach to each situation. Rob’s ability to recognize and utilize the strengths of those around him to bring about a positive outcome was refreshing.
Rob realized the need to have the necessary information to determine the cause of, and who was responsible for, fatal and serious injury collisions and developed the Multi-Agency Traffic Team (MATT) in Yamhill County. The team responded to and investigated numerous fatal and serious injury collisions, providing vital information used by the prosecutor in legal actions. The MATT team took their involvement to the next level by stressing prevention through presentations to the local high schools during prom and graduation times. The team was so efficient and successful that neighboring counties began requesting the team’s assistance.
Rob's concern for his deputies and their families was strong. He came with Bonni to the office on Christmas Eve, on his own time, to assist in telling me that my father had passed away. Rob was well respected by his supervisors, peers and the deputies who worked with him. We asked Rob to come visit a couple of years ago. We were hoping to get him interested in coming to work in San Juan County.
Rob is a man who has spent his adult life in the pursuit of his calling in law enforcement. We believe the citizens of San Juan County will be well served with Rob Nou as our next Sheriff.
Bruce & Bonni Distler
To the Editor:
The big showdown for Sheriff is fast upon us and we are very fortunate to have two well qualified candidates to chose from. I am endorsing Brent Johnson for the Office of Sheriff, as I did in the primary. I support Brent for several reasons and would like to share a few with you.
I have supervised Brent for the past eight years and consistently assigned him the most difficult and sensitive cases we have investigated, including child molesting and abuse,fraud and murder.. He has never let us down. Brent consistently produces detailed / accurate cases to forward to the prosecutor and shows compassion and fairness to both victims and suspects. These are charismatics I am sure he will instill in the people he supervises and mentors.
Brent is well prepared for the office of Sheriff by his experience and training. He was a supervisor with a large metropolitan department and holds a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. He has also received a great deal of training in the area of management and supervision which he put to good use as a supervisor in Albuquerque. Brent has been an active member of our community and volunteers for many local organizations; including the Fire Department, Red Cross and domestic violence.
I believe Brent Johnson is the right person to succeed Bill Cumming and be our first new Sheriff in twenty-four years. I urge you to join me in supporting and voting for him.
San Juan County
To the Editor:
Now that the primary is over we have two candidates left in the race for San Juan County Sheriff. Both men bring a great deal of experience and law enforcement background to the campaign. It is our opinion that Rob Nou should be the candidate elected to the position of San Juan County Sheriff.
As sheriff’s deputies, we all have experience working with both candidates. Indeed the challenge of this choice is that Deputy Nou and Detective Johnson are well liked and respected members of the San Juan Sheriff’s Dept. For this and other reasons we do not cavalierly endorse a candidate; this is not a decision to be made with casual consideration.
The county services and the programs we pay for with our taxes are in the midst of trying times. Over the next few years it is going to take seasoned experience and well reasoned insight to simply stabilize the Sheriff’s department we have today. As Deputy Sheriffs, we hope for the opportunity to be forward thinking and progressive; enabling us to deliver the kind of policing service the county needs and wants well into the future. For these reasons it is critical that you cast your vote for Rob Nou. At this juncture, for San Juan County, Rob Nou is simply the right choice for our Sheriff.
Most communities have the ability to attract high caliber candidates from outlying areas. We do not have that luxury in San Juan County; the geographic boundaries make the recruitment of highly qualified and successful individuals difficult at best. As a body of concerned voters we are in an amazingly fortunate position to elect just such a candidate.
Rob Nou’s resume includes decades of supervision and management experience which will be available to San Juan County. He has thousands of hours of advanced training and education in the field of law enforcement; much of it through the prestigious FBI National Academy. This fact speaks of a continuing and unparalleled commitment to a goal of personal and professional excellence. We feel this is a real opportunity for San Juan County; for today as well as far into the future. We would like to see the force of Rob Nou’s commitment at work in San Juan County.
To quote Rob Nou,” I don’t think of this as a job. It is more of a calling.”
Please vote to elect Rob Nou for the next Sheriff of San Juan County.
Sgt. Steve Vierthaler
To the Editor:
The ballots are in the mail; so it is time to make a decision on who should for be our next Sheriff. It was a difficult decision because those running have a lot to offer.
I have decided to endorse Brent Johnson for Sheriff. I have worked with all the candidates and consider several friends.
I reviewed their qualifications and statements and feel Brent is the right choice to replace retiring Sheriff Bill Cumming. He has been in law enforcement for 35 years and been a supervisor, of police officers, for thirteen years.
Integrity is an essential qualification for Sheriff and Brent has it and the respect of his fellow officers. Brent will work with the community in providing quality and responsive law enforcement to San Juan County. If you haven't already done so go to Brent Johnson For Sheriff" , or just go talk to him.
San Juan County
To the Editor:
As I have watched and listened to the response from the community regarding the candidates running for Sheriff, it has become apparent that other than budget issues, the most common concern being expressed is the use and trafficking of illegal narcotics in our county. This is understandable considering the residual effect that both illegal and prescription drug abuse has had. Perhaps a greater understanding of battling this issue is in order.
As a detective with the Sheriffs Office for the last five years, and the one primarily responsible for executing all operations involving narcotics, I can attest to the Detective Johnson’s clear understanding and proactive approach to the problem.
We, the public, are informed by headlines. The operations conducted by Brent and myself are necessarily confidential and fly well below the public’s knowledge. If one is to look closely, the significant activity is on a relatively low level compared to larger communities.
As a member of the Skagit County Drug Interdiction Unit, this office is continuously sharing information and ideas with our counterparts. This is a complex issue and unlike in larger communities and police departments, detectives aren’t able to simply disguise themselves and walk up to a drug dealer to make a buy. We must therefore depend on long term undercover operations that are both costly and difficult.
Brent has had countless years of experience with these issues and as a result we have successfully completed nearly twenty wired and controlled narcotics purchases in the last year, resulting in several dealers being arrested. The public is often extremely helpful in sharing confidential information with us regarding suspicious activities taking place.
Information is good and needed but direct involvement goes much further. Brent has been working with informants longer than any of his counterparts in this election have been on the job, and he knows how to get results.
Detective Lachlan Buchanan
San Juan County Sheriffs Office
To the Editor:
I highly recommend and support Brent Johnson for Sheriff. I have known Brent since 1979 when we started our law enforcement careers together at the Albuquerque Police Department. Brent is very committed and dedicated to the community he serves, has high ethical standards and integrity, and understands community policing. Brent is always willing to take the time to listen to the community he serves and collaboratively work to solve any issues. He brings experiences of working in a large and small police agency.
Vicky M. Stormo
Retired Chief of Police