Letters to the Editor: Jan. 16, 2019

For the last few months I have sat back and observed the ongoing problems in the town of Tonasket and their police department.

I wondered what the problem was when their entire department quit and moved to other jobs.

Then this past summer they hired Chief Darin Odegaard, who I have known for about 28 years and had the privilege to work with in the last five years of my 16-year police career.

Mr. Odegaard is an outstanding officer, father and husband, and I have found his honesty and integrity beyond reproach.

In the last couple of months the city has chastised both Chief Odegaard and Officer John Cruz for doing their job. At a council meeting reported The Chronicle, the actions of Officer Cruz were questioned by the mayor and council where officer Cruz pulled his service weapon and held it at a low ready position.

As a certified Range-master through the Criminal Justice Training Commission and reading from your paper the details of the incident, Officer Cruz responded in the correct training response for the incident.

The suspect in this incident also stated in your paper that he should have followed the officer’s directions and returned to his vehicle.

Next came the firing of both Officer Cruz and Chief Odegaard on Dec. 17, for violating multiple R.C.W.s and a W.A.C.

The Tonasket mayor revoked the firing of Chief Odegaard. Then, on Dec.21, the mayor again terminated Chief Odegaard. I researched the four R.C.W’s (as reported by your paper and from Tonasket City Hall) and they all are for the same thing, referring to training guide lines for the State of Washington. The fact that four statues referring to the same thing shows that an attorney was used (one would assume the Tonasket city attorney) to drum up a reason to fire the officers. The solution to Officer Cruz’s lack of certification could have been handled by a simple waiver request to the C.J.T.C.

The citizens of Tonasket are now faced with paying between $110 to

$120 per deputy assigned to assist the town. Response time to critical calls will average around 45 minutes. Average patrols will be once or twice a shift which the city now receives for free. This is based on my personal experience from the last department I worked for on the westside and knowing that on any given shift the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office has one north end deputy, one mid-valley deputy and one south-end deputy with two sergeants on each shift.

I believe the citizens of Tonasket need to take a hard look at their mayor, council and city hall as they just got flushed down the river.

Ray Shapley, Okanogan

On Dec. 31, 2018, an illegal alien, armed with a firearm, was intoxicated and walking down a county road. He was firing a hand gun into the air. He was in the vicinity of homes. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

This could have resulted in a tragic outcome. A stray bullet could have hit someone. He could have been shot by the responding police officer.

He could have shot the police officer who was assigned to investigate.

Any one of these scenarios could negatively impact many of our residents. Such a tragedy could have occurred whether this person was here legally or illegally, or even if he was a citizen, but the point I would like to make is that this undocumented person, should not have been here at all.

Okanogan County is far from the southern border yet we still feel the effects when there are security lapses on our southern border. Physical barriers do work.

I support the president’s efforts to protect our residents from those who would harm us. Harm can be intentional, such as acts of terrorism, or unintentional through irresponsible behaviors. Nevertheless, the results are everlasting and felt by many.

The Democratic party’s talking point, “the President said that Mexico would pay for the wall,” is childish. The Speaker of the House of Representatives saying that a wall is immoral is about one of the most absurd things said regarding homeland security.

It is time for Congress to stop their partisan antics and work toward meaningful immigration reform in a bipartisan manner.

Tracy S. Harrison, Malott

President Donald Trump is a willfully ignorant, reckless demagogue without a conscience or capacity for empathy.

He is, therefore, by owning and continuing the government shut down, acting in a manner that is consistent with his character. He can, justifiably, be accused of despicable, unconscionable, heartlessness, but not necessarily hypocrisy.

The same cannot be said of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. He is a seasoned politician with complete familiarity with the workings of Congress and the likely effects of a government shutdown on human lives, public safety and national security. His support of Trump’s nihilism is consequently inexcusable, reeks of hypocrisy and is yet another example of his cynical disregard for Senate tradition and an American sense of fair play.

His failure to bring former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to a hearing and vote, followed by his outrageous outburst when Democratic senators protested Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s intemperate rants during Trump’s nominee’s hearing, are particularly egregious.

Trump is a tyrant; McConnell his enabler.

Robert Goodwin, Omak

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