Snohomish County Sheriff says recall effort against him is over

Mar 9, 2021, 5:58 PM
sheriff adam fortney...
Sheriff Fortney (KIRO Radio, Hanna Scott)
(KIRO Radio, Hanna Scott)

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney says the recall effort against him is over with Tuesday’s deadline because there were not enough signatures on the petition for a recall vote.

The recall effort started after Sheriff Fortney questioned the constitutionality of Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home order last year, and said he would not enforce it.

Through much of the recall effort, Fortney had chosen to stay silent.

“We made that decision back after the Supreme Court decision,” he told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “We kind of got geared up for, we thought we’d be running kind of like a campaign, and we had an event and things like that, raised a little bit of money.”

Following the presidential election and everything that was happening locally and nationwide, Fortney says there was already a lot of divisiveness and he didn’t want to be part of it.

“I don’t want to cause any more divisiveness, and what I mean by that is this recall is negative just by its very nature,” he explained. “You’re trying to throw someone out of office basically. There’s no positive. You’re not portraying a positive outlook for the community or trying to reach a positive outcome.”

“I didn’t want to be out there and, honestly, I don’t want to give them any credibility because I don’t think they have any either,” he added. “I didn’t want to be out there debating everything they were going to say about me for the next six months.”

He admitted the choice to stay silent was risky because there was a group of attorneys on the other side with a full-fledged campaign against him for six months during the signature gathering phase.

“If you know me at all, everything in me wants to come out and give my side of the story and kind of defend myself,” Fortney said. “I didn’t think it was right for the community, though, Jason. I just didn’t. At that moment in our history, it was going to be a back and forth on social media or in the media, and, one, I didn’t want to give credibility, and I didn’t want any more divisiveness in our community.”

Rantz: Flyer threatens Snohomish sheriff’s safety, claims he runs armed ‘death squads’

Recently, a flyer was distributed in parts of Snohomish County that gave off the impression there’s been excessive force under Fortney’s leadership, but that’s not the case.

“The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office did not have an officer involved shooting in 2020,” Fortney said. “I can’t remember the last time that’s been the case. I mean, that’s our goal. We don’t want any. That’s a great thing. That’s a great staff.”

While the hashtag of “RecallFortney” is included at the bottom of the flyer, it’s not confirmed who distributed them. But they did lead Fortney to break his silence.

“I was disgusted, to be honest with you, but not surprised,” he said. “… I cannot say that the actual recall community put these out. There’s no way I can say that.”

That said, he’s had to live with people “trashing, basically, my family name” for the last year of his life.

“They’ve been saying these exact same things that are on here, but they’re lawyers, they just flowered up in nicer language,” he said. “They’ve been saying all of this stuff. This flyer was just a disgusting format in which to do it.”

Sheriff Fortney says the accusations on the flyer, which reads “Join Fortney’s death squad,” and “bring your guns,” are false.

“They’re completely false,” Fortney said. “They have no merit, which is why they didn’t get the signatures.”

In terms of the events that sparked the recall effort, Fortney says he never hid from his decisions.

“I actually published my decision so people could read them, which I have not heard of an elected sheriff or police chief ever doing that in my 24 years. I did that,” he said. “And then I took an additional step, I
held a press conference to answer everyone’s questions about it. So I feel like I’ve been transparent.”

“They make it sound horrible, but they are not giving the whole story, they’re absolutely painting a false narrative,” he added about the organizers of the recall effort.

Fortney says that those making accusations against him only represent a small portion of the community, evidenced by the fact that the recall effort didn’t have the signatures for a vote.

“This is a very small portion of the activist community,” he said. “They are very loud. They’re very vocal. I’ll give them that they are relentless, they absolutely are. But they had no vision. They had no positive vision, and I don’t think, for the most part, regular folks who go to work every day and raise their families and take their kids to their sporting events want to hear the kind of vitriol that they spew all the time.”

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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Snohomish County Sheriff says recall effort against him is over