Snohomish County Sheriff candidate: ‘We haven’t had support for six years’

Oct 31, 2019, 9:57 AM

Snohomish County sheriff, policing laws...

Snohomish County Sheriff's deputies investigating a mysterious death in 2019. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

The race for Snohomish County Sheriff is heating up, with an incumbent sergeant earning the endorsement of the Everett Police Association. Sergeant Adam Fortney strongly opposes the county’s approach, claiming that law enforcement officers aren’t really able to do their jobs.

Sergeant Fortney has spent 23 years in the sheriff’s office. He’s worked as a uniformed officer, including with the SWAT team, and joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss how his approach would differ.

“Whenever I get in front of the community and talk about it, I gotta pick their jaw off the floor because they can’t believe that deputy sheriffs have trouble booking people in the jail. So what’s been going on for about last six years is what I call jail restriction,” he said. “Basically, if it’s a misdemeanor offense … this sheriff has said that we’re not taking people into jail if they’re high on drugs. As you can imagine, that’s the vast majority of people we deal with.”

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“You don’t need to be a public safety expert to see that what we’re doing is not working … It’s about time that cops get back to enforcing law instead of turning a blind eye,” he said. “You make an arrest, you do an investigation. You drive that person to Snohomish County Jail and you’re told, ‘Sorry, we’re not taking them today.’ The Sheriff’s office policy is that we have to drive him back to where we got him. That has a horrible impact on morale.”

This especially ties in addressing the homeless situation, and what role the Sheriff’s office should play in it.

“If somebody hasn’t severe medical issues, maybe they’re not going to jail for a misdemeanor that night. I’m okay with that. But the other 19 people who are walking and talking just fine and they’re playing games and they might test positive for a drug. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. It’s accountability time. They need to go to jail.”

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Sergeant Fortney says the biggest difference between himself and his opponent is that he wants to return to an environment in Snohomish in which cops feel supported in doing their jobs.

“What the Sheriff can control overnight is policies and procedures within the sheriff’s office: Are they supportive or are they not supportive of what I call proactive police work?” he said. “You don’t want a bunch of cops running around worrying about getting in trouble if they chase a certain collar.”

“We haven’t had that support for six years. It’s been a very difficult time, and I think that’s why you’re seeing so many police associations endorse my campaign.”

To learn more about Sergeant Fortney’s campaign, head to www.adamforsnocosheriff.com

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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