I, like some of you feel frustration with the available resources for law enforcement in our communities. The obvious immediate fix for most of the negative commentary would be adding personnel. This would provide needed coverage so personnel would be afforded opportunities to take vacation, attend training events, take sick leave, and attend meetings without significantly negatively impacting the priority to serve and protect the community.
It is my opinion that the most important question voters have before them come November is, will changing leadership truly remedy the challenges or simply create new ones that will add to the already existing ones.
The average law enforcement organization has approximately 2.2 officers per 1000 population. San Juan County Sheriff’s Office has barely 1 per thousand. This shortage creates challenges and strains on the members of the organization. I understand an additional Deputy would cost approximately $85,000.00 per year. Where exactly is this funding going to come from?
I have served over 26 years in the military and have over 25 years of law enforcement experience. I have held the rank of private to Lieutenant Colonel. I have served as a squad member, platoon leader, Commander, Battalion to Division Staff member and Section Officer In Charge. I have served in a leadership/follower role during two tours in Iraq. As a law enforcement officer, I have served as a Patrol Officer, Senior Patrol Officer and a Patrol Sergeant. I have worked in five states for numerous different leaders.
The one consistency I have seen in my service is that leaders are frequently asked to do more with less. I have seen those leaders get frustrated and the consequence of that demand on their subordinates. Morale suffers due to fatigue and organization members blame the leadership.
What is an executive to do? He or she can either tell his or her bosses no or ask his or her subordinates to step up and continue to do more with less. Sheriff Nou works for the citizens of San Juan County. He has asked the county for more personnel. There is no money to add those personnel and so far the answer has been no. The personnel retention challenges for Orcas and Lopez Island have remained unchanged for the past 12 years. It is a challenge for a variety of reasons that are not in the Sheriff's immediate control.
Here is what I know. The Deputies of San Juan County, as well as the dispatchers, are some of the most dedicated and honest people I have had the pleasure to know. They and their families consistently step up to fill a gap, due to shortages in staffing and resources. The sacrifices made by them and their families are humbling.
You all can choose to fire Sheriff Nou and give Ron a shot to make gold from straw. I will personally do all I can, as I am certain we all will, to make him successful, because he was your choice and I, in the end, serve all of you.
I will hope that the members of this organization remain loyal to him, despite the realities, that will most certainly set in, after his first year, for him and his family. My experience has taught me that being the executive is not all it is cracked up to be. He and his family will be very very very tired and frustrated. As strong as he may be, the strain he and they have experienced thus far is nothing compared to what is coming. They will need our complete support, should he get what he is seeking. I will pray for and serve whoever you choose to be the Sheriff of this county.
What I know is that Sheriff Nou is a good person who genuinely cares. He has demonstrated to me that he is honest and that he wants to fulfill his obligation as your Sheriff. He is most certainly not a toxic leader. I have worked for toxic leaders and would most definitely not support a toxic leader because I know those leaders are dangerous.
A General once told me that a new leader is never more dangerous than when he first starts out as a new leader in a new assignment. Not because he wants to be or because of what he knows. It is because he or she does not know what they don't know.
I choose to support Sheriff Nou because he, not Ron Krebs, is a proven leader in the role as a law enforcement leader. I like Ron and I like what his family and friends say about him. Perhaps with time and opportunities for development Ron may become ready. I do not feel Ron is currently ready for the role of Sheriff.