Johns: Supported Krebs for sheriff in 2014, will not vote for him in 2018

Anger and pain are two negative experiences so closely bound together it can sometimes be hard to know where one ends and the other begins. For those watching, it is often perceived as anger. Recently, I was asked why I was so angry with the current Sheriff. Apparently Krebs himself has asked others this question, though never me directly. I want to clear up once and for all . . . I am not angry. I am hurt.

I have spent 22+ years as the partner of a nearly 30-year law enforcement veteran. I have worn that title proudly in the face of much adversity – it is not an easy life for the families of officers. My children were raised in a family of more than 750,000 members. For my husband, it was not a job but a calling. For us, it was not his profession, but our way of life.

When my husband was training new officers, they would join us each night around the table for dinner. This was not done to feed them, it was done to invite them to our family. To host them at our table. To demonstrate that they were part of a bigger family now. At any time and any place in the country, I have always known that if I needed anything I could call on the local department. I have always known that if my husband had ever lost his life in the line of duty, my family would forever be taken care of. Until we came here.

In 2014 I was one of the most outspoken supporters of Krebs. I wore the t-shirt, put up the signs, invited him to stay at our home while he campaigned, walked the parade, wrote the letters, and asked the questions that he requested I ask at voter forums.

About a month after he was elected, I had my first face to face meeting with him since the election. During that meeting I expressed concern that it was appearing he got what he needed from his supporters and then moved on. I expressed concern that we, and others, were feeling as if the “friendship” was all for show.

In addition, I shared that I was disappointed he had lied to me about his selection of undersheriff. He had said throughout the campaign that he did not know who his undersheriff would be and we later found out he had offered the appointment to Brent Johnson prior to even announcing his candidacy.

I also expressed concern that he was hiring someone into a detective position without first vetting them as a deputy on the department for a period of time first to get to know their character and work ethic. My concern of this later proved valid, that detective was Stephen Parker. During that meeting, I received lip service to my feelings and concerns. That was really the last time I talked to him until about three years later.

Though multiple opportunities presented themselves for Krebs to demonstrate his care and concern for his department members, I never saw or experienced those. I went to talk to him again in a face to face meeting about 2 ½-3 years later. This was following my husband experiencing a life threatening medical event that included CPR. I expressed to him the hurt I felt when he never once reached out to my family during or after. My fears were realized, if something happened to my husband we did not have the law enforcement family behind us. We had been betrayed. In that meeting, he promised to do better, to try harder.

A few months later, he had another chance when an Orcas deputy was involved in a car accident that would later prove to be career ending. He never once picked up the phone to call him. He did not ever reach out to the deputy’s spouse. He did not send someone over to check on him or offer rides to appointments or help in any way. The wound that I felt a few months prior, had salt poured in it. Fast forward to another deputy sustaining an on the job injury when a piece of shrapnel became lodged in his arm at the gun range. Knowing that deputy was in the emergency room, Krebs again did nothing. He had an opportunity to drive down the street and check on him, call him, text him, even send his favorite method of communication via a Facebook message . . . he did nothing.

I share the same concerns of job performance as a majority of residents I have spoken to: hiring decisions, employee management, failure to forward cases for prosecution, lack of follow through on campaign promises, lack of a clear plan and vision for drug enforcement, no change in handling mentally ill, facebook usage on work time, different standards for different people, etc . I also understand that the hurt I feel shapes the lens by which I look at the department. But I cannot help but to think, if he treated his “family” the way we were treated, the culture within the department is also shaped by that leadership and sets the tone for every interaction with everyone.

There is no vendetta. There is no coordinated effort between myself and anyone else. There is no plotted next move. There is no coalition of people who have joined forces (if there is, I have not been invited). Pain fuels my anger, anger fuels my strength, and my strength prompts me to tell my truth. My truth is this, from the beginning I was lied to by Sheriff Krebs. Jeff Asher has not once, that I am aware of today, lied to me. I was used for political gain by Sheriff Krebs. Jeff Asher refused to talk to me about his campaign while we were going through an injury to our daughter and, instead, answered only with “how is your daughter.” Sheriff Krebs never once reached out to my family, or members of my law enforcement family, when tragedy hit our homes. Jeff Asher’s communication regarding these issues, and more, was immediate, constant, compassionate, and genuine.

This is my truth. And that is why I endorse and will vote Jeff Asher for Sheriff.

Respectfully,

Marla Johns

 

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