LETTER: Time to support those who come to rescue

Posted 8/8/17

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Allen had a disturbing encounter with a hammer-wielding assailant in Brinnon in January.

What was particularly disturbing about this incident was the 19 …

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LETTER: Time to support those who come to rescue

Posted

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Allen had a disturbing encounter with a hammer-wielding assailant in Brinnon in January.

What was particularly disturbing about this incident was the 19 minutes it took for backup to arrive to assist Deputy Allen. Why?

Well, it turns out our sheriff’s department patrol section is understaffed and overworked, and at any given time during 24 hours, we only have two or three patrolmen on the road in all the county except the West End, where we have two deputies who live and patrol.

A nationally accepted rule of thumb for the number of officers in a department is 1 to 2 per 1,000 people.

Our deputies are responsible for 400 miles of roads, 1,814 square miles of land, 369 square miles of roadway, three school districts and a population of 20,000.

Accordingly, we should have 20-40 patrol officers. We have 13, well, actually 12 now, because we’re one short on the West End.

Our deputies serve 10-hour shifts with lots of overtime, and as I said, only two of them could be on the road during a shift, hence the lag times in coming to the aid of each other. Hence, a scary scene like the one Deputy Allen faced alone on a rural county road.

Our county commissioners, who have a lot on their plates, apparently believe that the odds are in their favor that a deputy won’t crash from sleep deprivation or be murdered by a hammer-wielding assailant, having refused to increase the sheriff’s budget to hire even one more deputy to lighten the load.

If this concerns you, contact Commissioners Kathleen Kler, Kate Dean and David Sullivan.

These deputies protect us as best they can. Shouldn’t we protect them as best we can?

JON LANGDON

Port Townsend

Editor’s note: The numbers above do not reflect the City of Port Townsend, which has a separate police department.

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