The slogan 'Experience Matters' is showing up in our Sheriff’s race. Having been with our Sheriff's Department for over 30 years, first as a Deputy then as Sergeant, I would like to offer my opinion on what 'experience' really matters.
Eric Peter was hired by the Houston Police Department in 1997. Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the country. Their Police Department is very highly regarded. Eric was in various patrol units for his first 10 years with the department. He worked the Gang Task Force, Narcotics and the Violent Crime Impact patrol. He gained 10 years of valuable experience and training in the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in the United States.
During this same time Ron Krebs worked at a Les Schwab tire shop.
In 2007 Eric was promoted to Sergeant for Houston P.D. In this position he was directly in charge of a squad of 10 to 12 officers, but often supervised 20 to 30 officers on a shift, more than our entire Sheriff's department. During his career Eric supervised the Northeast Patrol division, the Airport division for the fourth largest airport in the country, the Emergency Communications division and the Westside patrol. He was assigned to the Westside Crime Analysis unit where he regularly went out into the community to meet with various people and groups to find out what their problems and concerns were and use the information to get the maximum effectiveness out of his officers. He held this position until 2017, when he was hired by the San Juan Sheriff's Office.
Krebs was hired in 2007 and went to the academy. After the academy, all deputies do a one year probation. Krebs probation was extended twice, first for an additional six months and then for another 3 months, due to poor investigations, reports and follow-up. He managed to remedy this and finally passed probation in August of 2009. Next, he was disciplined for an incident where he left his Taser lying on a counter where his juvenile daughters could get to it and play with it, which resulted in an ER visit for one of them. In 2011 he was one of the deputies involved in a murder case in Friday Harbor. He was suspended and disciplined for going on Facebook and making comments about the ongoing case and who the suspect was. One of the major concerns of the Sheriff's investigation into his behavior was that Krebs didn't seem to understand why it was wrong.
He managed to get elected Sheriff in 2015. During his time as sheriff he has had complaints filed against him with the Public Disclosure Committee in every one of his three election campaigns for wearing his uniform or using county vehicles for transportation. In 2015 a female prisoner was transported to Friday Harbor by boat and Krebs was there to pick her up. She claims that during this contact Krebs inappropriately groped and touched her. This case was settled for $26,000.
In 2016 it was discovered that a Detective that Krebs had hired was having regular ongoing sexual relations with the victim of a rape case he was supposed to be investigating. The detective was doing this while on duty, using Sheriff's department vehicles and resources. This detective's office was two doors down from Krebs office, they worked the same shift together 5 days a week and he reported to the Sheriff. These crimes were only discovered when the victim complained to her Victim's Advocate. Because of this, all charges were dropped against the original rape suspect. The detective was not charged and simply allowed to resign and move away.
In 2019 Krebs was caught manipulating the District courtroom cameras from the dispatch center, during an ongoing trial. He claimed it was 'accidental', even though he managed to zoom in on the Defense attorney's notes, the one thing he legally and ethically could not do. Judge Donald Eaton reviewed the recording and said Krebs actions were obviously intentional and deliberate and the entire case was dismissed. The suspect in this case had been arrested for Trespass and Assault involving a knife and conditions of release and protection orders were put in place for the victim. Because of Krebs actions the suspect was released with no restraining orders or conditions of any kind to protect the victim and allowed to just walk away. Imagine if the victim was your sister or mother. Once again Krebs doesn’t seem to understand why what he did was such a big deal and has even said so at campaign forums.
So let's compare. Eric Peter has 20 years of high level training and experience in multiple areas of law enforcement in a highly diverse community, both as a street officer and supervisor. During his time with Houston P.D. Eric received 22 written commendations for his work and 2 Chief of Police Commendations and received Zero citizen’s complaints. He was hired by Krebs in 2017, who has publicly stated he only hires the best, and after a short time as a patrol deputy he was promoted to Sergeant because of his knowledge, training and work ethic which gave him an additional 5 years of experience in our smaller community.
Krebs entire law enforcement experience has been here. The records clearly show there is nothing exemplary or outstanding about his performance as a deputy or sheriff. He appears to have spent 15 years fumbling from one incident to the next.
It seems clear that if you truly believe 'experience matters', your only choice is to vote Eric Peter for Sheriff.
Sgt. Scott Brennan, Retired San Juan County