Jeff Asher has been with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office for more than three decades and has many ideas of how things can be improved. Including providing Reserve Offices and a Community Service Officer to free up deputies to respond to calls. After midnight there is just one deputy on duty on San Juan Island. And after 2 or 3 a.m. there is no one on duty. (There is someone on call).
This lack of coverage leads to less DUI arrests and more danger for domestic violence victims.
In the past under Sheriff Bill Cumming and Ray Scheffer, Asher said, "In the 90s, they used senior deputies rather than supervisors. Everybody pulled their load...And know we are top heavy with supervisors."
Asher would increase the ability of the Sheriff's Office to respond to the citizens by creating a Reserve Officer program. Most likely, the reserves would be former law enforcement officers. The program would be volunteer with a stipend paid for the hours worked, similar to the way the EMTs work. Asher anticipates a Reserve Program of 13 officers each working 24 hours a month at a cost of $25 an hour. The other expense would be the purchase of four vehicles - one for each island. This could be done most cost effectively through the federal 1033 program.
A Reserve Officer Training Academy could be conducted through Skagit Valley College or through the Sheriff's Office. The curriculum material is already available. There are three specific subject areas that need to be taught by experts - firearms training, hand to hand combat, and emergency vehicle operations. Two of those could be taught on San Juan Island. The driving one would need to be done on the mainland.
By having Reserve Offficers who could respond to some of the less serious calls, it would free up deputies to take care of the more serious calls and to conduct investigations.
Another way to make more efficient use of the deputy's time would be by hiring a Community Service Officer. That involves 11 weeks of training and the pay for a CSO is significantly less than the $140,000 (which includes benefits) that it costs for a deputy.
"They are the Swiss Army Knife of employees," Asher said. They can take fingerprints, take reports, work with victims, etc.
Asher doesn't like the fact that the county uses Yakima County Jail. "It is the worst of the worst," he said. Families can't visit and it's "gangland".
As for drugs, Asher believes much more needs to be done to help addicts kick their habits. He also believes the Sheriff's Office could respond more promptly when people report illegal drug sales, if the staffing model he proposes was put in place.
Other ideas he has include holding regular staff meetings, creating a citizen advisory committee, starting a non-profit that supports the Sheriff's Office, creating a Youth Explorer Program, and creating a formalized standard background check process. The process would be fully documented and thorough.
More about Asher including his endorsements can be read on his website https://www.jeffasherforsheriff.com/.
Rodney Saturday, 20 October 2018 11:06 Comment Link
"John" you obviously didnt read my comment in its entirety, I said the 1033 program is used PRIMARILY for weapons and armored vehicles. I am well aware of what the 1033 program is. San Juan County has banned its use for patrol vehicles, so the simple question for Asher was HOW is he going to do the things he says he is going to do?Report
John Saturday, 20 October 2018 10:45 Comment Link
Obviously, a simple google search is beyond some people.Report
Seems like there are many kinds of equipment besides armored vehicles and guns for law enforcement to buy.
Rodney Friday, 19 October 2018 09:40 Comment Link
Jeff, how are you going to get that many people to VOLUNTEER their time as a reserve when a lot of people here can barely make ends meet with one, two or even three jobs? There are rules against using part time volunteers to supplement full time positions, how do you expect to do that? As a former reserve officer, I know it's a huge commitment especially those with a family.Report
"The other expense would be the purchase of four vehicles - one for each island. This could be done most cost effectively through the federal 1033 program."
Again, I would like to know how this would be done as the "1033" a MILITARY SURPLUSS program cannot be used for patrol vehicles. It is however used primarily for automatic weapons and armored vehicles.
Jeff Asher, you have a lot of talking points but no backing, no research and no answers to your misleading statements to the citizens of San Juan County.
Marla Johns Friday, 19 October 2018 06:45 Comment Link
Deputy Asher had a much clearer vision for moving the department in a more proactive direction.Report
His opponent, on the other hand, wants a dog and serves on some Boards (according to the article). He also is happy to have gotten rid of senior deputies and has a “younger” group of guys (age discrimination?).
It’s time to shake up the status quo. Our communities deserve better than the same old thing. Crime is up. DUI arrests are down. Violent crime is up. Drug and alcohol use are rampant. The last four years have proven to be dangerous for our communities. Do you want to take the chance at four more just like it? I don’t.
Vote for change. Vote for your community. Vote for Asher for Sheriff.