Letters to the editor of the Spotlight
I live in rural Columbia County and I endorse Gerry Simmons for sheriff.
Last December, Congress failed to pass the timber payments resolution resulting in a 25 percent loss of the budget in Columbia County, and that money may never come back. The failure to pass that portion of the bill impacts every department in Columbia County as well as all other rural counties in Oregon and Washington. It was a devastating blow.
Gerry Simmons acknowledged that issue Thursday evening in Rainier and also said he is working for long-term stable funding. The current proposal for bed rentals to the U.S. marshal's is awaiting federal approval.
In comparison, Mr. Dickerson and his supporters are trying to convince the voters Columbia County Sheriff's Office employees are unprofessional, untrained and derelict of their duties. I feel that is an insidious platform to campaign on.
I have met many deputies over the years and found them to be professional, intelligent and congenial.
While Gerry Simmons may not be a great public orator with a boisterous personality he is working hard to get the funding that will bring the CCSO back from the brink of disaster.
If long-term funding is not secured, we won't have to worry about adequate patrol coverage because there will be no Sheriff's Office.
This is a letter is support of Robert Crain for the position of Columbia County sheriff. Three candidates are running and all are well qualified.
Having said this, of the three we like Robert Crain best for the following reasons:
First, he has many years of experience in law enforcement and knows a lot about different kinds of bad guys and how to catch them, including working with the federal taskforce on financial crimes, identity theft and that sort of thing. Second, he believes in the need for a good community-friendly approach to public safety so that we might better get to know the sheriff's deputies protecting our neighborhoods. Third, he has good ideas on how we might fund reasonable 24/7 patrols in the county. And finally, and not least, he's proven himself a good administrator at the county and a nice guy.
Mike and Maddy Sheehan
Dickerson the one
I work for a law enforcement agency outside this area, and live in unincorporated Columbia County.
I am stymied by the lack of service from our Sheriff's Office in Columbia County. Public service by definition is just that: service. In unincorporated Columbia County if you need police assistance after 10 p.m., you are simply out of luck - there will be no response when you call 9-1-1 because the Sheriff's Office is closed until 10 a.m. the following morning. I have to believe there is a better solution than to simply close for 12 hours. Jeff Dickerson's suggestion of staggering shifts is an example of innovative leadership, something that could well keep the criminals off guard.
Columbia County deputies have not had performance evaluations in years. This does not cost money, but is simply a matter of an organization being run in a professional manner.
Undersheriff Simmons stands on his '27 years experience.' I have 20 myself and know that what is currently happening at Columbia County Sheriff's Office isn't right. I'm voting for Jeff Dickerson.