Dori: Fired over vaccine refusal, former King Co. detective now required to return to testify

Jul 18, 2022, 5:08 PM | Updated: Jul 19, 2022, 8:15 am

Jen Eshom, detective, King County Sheriff's Office (KIRO 7)...

Jen Eshom, detective, King County Sheriff's Office (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Only a few months after being fired by the King County Sheriff’s department for refusing to follow the county’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Jen Eshom told The Dori Monson Show, that the King County Prosecutor’s Office started sending her “quasi-threatening emails” demanding she returns to Seattle from her new out-of-state home to testify in a child rape case. The irony still appalls the former sexual assault detective.

“I wasn’t purposely trying to not appear,” Eshom told Dori’s Monday listeners. “I have a deep moral obligation to appear and follow the court’s order.”

At the same time, she and her also-fired husband were still in the “chaotic time” of settling into a new community during her own kids’ summer break.

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“I can’t just pick up and leave,” she explained to county officials after they gave her a one-week notice. Not only were there travel costs, she said, but “I haven’t had time to find a trusted babysitter. My husband has a brand-new job and he can’t take time off to be with the kids.”

It’s particularly aggravating, she said, because before her firing, “I warned the prosecutors `you have many cases of mine that I am the primary detective, and I may not easily be able to drive to Seattle and testify for a case. Shouldn’t you keep me employed until these cases are adjudicated?’”

No, they told Eshom: you’re done.

That’s when her family packed up and moved out of state. Not long after, county officials reached out to her several times through email saying, “we need you to appear next week.”

“That’s how unorganized they are,” the former detective told Dori’s listeners. “King County has put me in this unusual predicament and now look how it’s affecting (their) ability to prosecute cases.”

“So they had to fire you and your husband because you were not vaccinated, but then they said, ‘please put on a mask and get on a plane and come to the King County Courthouse?’” Dori questioned. “If that’s all okay, why wouldn’t you still be working?”

“It gets even more ridiculous,” Eshom continued.

When – through a series of arrangements that allowed her to return to Seattle and find local childcare during the trial – Eshom testified, she was ordered to appear in the King County Courthouse and the King County Administrative Building.

“At the end of my employment, I could not even enter there because I was too much a danger to my coworkers and the public,” she said, pointing out the double standard.

Meanwhile, Dori lamented, statistics and reports show “new sexual assaults in Seattle and King County are not even being assigned to detectives” due to a shortage of officers and detectives.

Eshom said one former colleague told her local law enforcement departments are so short-staffed they can’t assign sexual assault cases to patrol officers because of their increased work demand.

While the case she testified in is likely to find the child rape suspect guilty, she remains happy about her move away from Seattle.

“I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but it really is life changing,” Eshom said. “I admire the people who are willing to stay in the leftist areas of Seattle, but, for our family, we did not see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Fired over vaccine refusal, former King Co. detective now required to return to testify