What others say about the candidates for San Juan County sheriff
September 10, 2010 · Updated 11:33 AM
Lead Detective Brent Johnson and Deputy Rob Nou are candidates for San Juan County sheriff in the Nov. 2 general election.
Here's a compilation of what people and press have said about the candidates:
Louis O'Prussack, head of school, Spring Street International School
Letter to the editor, Aug. 4 SanJuanJournal.com
I knew Brent this past year as one of the parents at Spring Street School, but I did not interact with him a lot in his professional role as a detective until this spring.
After several meetings with Detective Johnson, I thought of Auden's lines above and reflected on how wonderful it was to see a master at work, practicing his craft with such precision, insight, and wisdom.
By nature, I am not one who offers praise lightly. If anything, I tend to be too critical and set my standards too high. But watching Brent work, was truly a joy to behold. He clearly has not only the character, humility, and high ethical standards that we need on our island, but also has the experience, wisdom, and mastery that comes from years of experience practicing his craft.
To find someone who understands that ethics and law work in tandem, and that it is not enough to simply search for the truth, but, instead, that we must also strive to do what is ethically right as we search, is a wonderful thing indeed.
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Jon Zerby, undersheriff, San Juan County Sheriff's Department
Letter to the editor, July 29 SanJuanJournal.com
I have worked with all the candidates and consider several friends. I reviewed their qualifications and statements and feel Brent is the right choice to replace retiring Sheriff Bill Cumming. He has been in law enforcement for 35 years and been a supervisor, of police officers, for 13 years.
Integrity is an essential qualification for sheriff and Brent has it and the respect of his fellow officers. Brent will work with the community in providing quality and responsive law enforcement to San Juan County.
If you haven't already done so, go to brentjohnsonforsheriff.blogspot.com or just go talk to him.
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Sharon Kivisto, sanjuanislander.com
Editorial, July 29
Johnson has gained the experience in his 35-year law enforcement career to do the job we need done in San Juan County. He knows the islands. He's active in various aspects of the community from the Red Cross to the Veterans Advisory Board.
Of the candidates, he has the most knowledge about the top crime issues facing the county: drugs and domestic violence. As a detective he works on drug operations and sex crime cases. He is a board member of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault organization.
While some talk about the need for community policing, Johnson has already done that. When he worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he worked to help turn neighborhoods back to the community after gangs moved in. "They (the neighbors) would have my cell phone number," he said.
Johnson has managed, recruited, trained and evaluated employees. He has specific ideas of changes that will be made once he is elected. A long overdue update of standard operating procedures and a new inclusive process for budget creation are two. Top staff would sit down with him to do a thorough review of the budget, before moving forward with building the new budget.
Experience is the key. Johnson's is deep and wide. In his 35-year career, he's worked as an investigator for a district attorney on one of the most difficult cases in New Mexico history. They got a conviction even though a body was never recovered. He worked in the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff for one year. He was in charge of the DARE program for 72 schools. He worked at the University of Washington Police Department. He was the sergeant for Selection and Recruiting in Albuquerque interviewing 1,000 people to get 45 qualified applicants.
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Lachlan Buchanan, detective, San Juan County Sheriff's Department
Letter to the editor, July 28 SanJuanJournal.com
As I have watched and listened to the response from the community regarding the candidates running for sheriff, it has become apparent that other than budget issues, the most common concern being expressed is the use and trafficking of illegal narcotics in our county. This is understandable considering the residual effect that both illegal and prescription drug abuse has had.
Perhaps a greater understanding of battling this issue is in order. As a detective with the Sheriff's Office for the last five years, and the one primarily responsible for executing all operations involving narcotics, I can attest to the Detective Johnson’s clear understanding and proactive approach to the problem. We, the public, are informed by headlines. The operations conducted by Brent and myself are necessarily confidential and fly well below the public’s knowledge. If one is to look closely, the significant activity is on a relatively low level compared to larger communities.
As a member of the Skagit County Drug Interdiction Unit, this office is continuously sharing information and ideas with our counterparts. This is a complex issue and unlike in larger communities and police departments, detectives aren’t able to simply disguise themselves and walk up to a drug dealer to make a buy. We must therefore depend on long-term undercover operations that are both costly and difficult.
Brent has had countless years of experience with these issues and as a result we have successfully completed nearly 20 wired and controlled narcotics purchases in the last year, resulting in several dealers being arrested. The public is often extremely helpful in sharing confidential information with us regarding suspicious activities taking place. Information is good and needed but direct involvement goes much further.
Brent has been working with informants longer than any of his counterparts in this election have been on the job, and he knows how to get results.
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Kim Perlot-Hayes, former municipal judge, McMinnville, Ore.
Letter to the editor, Aug. 9 SanJuanJournal.com
I have known Rob for over six years. I worked with him while he was the chief of police for the City of Burns. Rob was always highly respected by his co-workers, including myself. He has been involved in law enforcement and criminal justice for over 28 years.
He knows all too well the trials of budget omissions and shortfalls. During times of funding deficits, Rob was able to find the funds through grants to purchase firearms needed in his department. He was an instrumental driving force in starting the Harney County Safe Communities and Safe Kids of Harney County programs, which in turn brought the only child safety seat and bicycle helmet retail to Harney County. These programs were completely grant-funded, costing the city nothing. They were huge benefits to the citizens of Burns-Hines and Harney County.
I was the municipal judge while he was with the City of Burns. As a colleague, he is always professional and pleasure to work with. He is very well organized, diligent and thorough, timely, and easy to communicate with. He has always held offenders accountable, while showing them respect and dignity. He also educates them that there are better choices to be made.
Rob is calm in times of stress, and able to alleviate a tense situation. He will represent the county well, he is very competent with public interaction and speaking, and makes others feel comfortable. He is well-educated and constantly working hard to better himself and community he is working for.
Personally, Rob and I have become very good friends over the years. He is honest, trustworthy, kind, caring and dependable. I consider Rob one of the finest people I have ever had the privilege to know with unwavering integrity. He has always given more of himself then he receives.
After knowing and working with him, I have no doubt in saying that he is the best candidate for San Juan County sheriff. He will be an asset to the department with his years of knowledge and experience that no other candidate can match.
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The Journal of the San Juan Islands
Editorial, Aug. 9 SanJuanJournal.com
The Journal of the San Juan Islands did not make lightly its endorsement in the race for San Juan County sheriff. Five very fine candidates. We’ve studied each candidate’s background, experience and record. We’ve pored over each candidate’s issues and priorities. We’ve interviewed. We’ve covered the forums and studied the Q&As.
We recommend voting for ROB NOU.
Nou has experience and ideas. He also brings fresh leadership, unencumbered by baggage that can come with being with an organization for a long time.
Nou — who joined the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy after four years as police chief in Burns, Ore. — has 29 years of law enforcement experience, much of that as an administrative sergeant with the Yamhill County, Ore., Sheriff’s Department. He’s managed or supervised drug-abuse awareness programs, a multi-agency traffic accident investigation team, traffic safety enforcement grant projects, and a city police department.
In Oregon, Nou lobbied for state funding for Healthy Start and Early Head Start programs, saying tough law enforcement is essential “but we’ll win a victory over crime only when our commitment to putting dangerous criminals in jail is matched by our commitment to investing in our children.”
Nou knows the challenges of running a tightly-funded and tightly staffed department. As police chief, Nou and four full-time officers provided law enforcement in the county seat of the largest county in area in Oregon. His 911 center served the entire county.
“We are one of two municipal police departments in an area of 10,000 square miles. If someone (outside the city limits) needed help, we’d go out,” Burns Assistant Police Chief Brice Mundlin said.
Nou’s budget for police and 911: $750,000.
Former Burns mayor Laura Van Cleave said of Nou’s management style, “We’re a frontier community, miles and miles and miles from anyplace — 130 miles from Bend, 130 miles from anything of any size, so we’re very self-contained. We’re the biggest county geographically in Oregon and the eighth biggest in the U.S. Some people count their people per square miles, we count square miles per people. Rob just fit in, perfect as far as I’m concerned.”
She said of Nou, “If you’re looking for a good sheriff, he would be perfect. I’d vote for him in a minute.”
Assistant Chief Mundlin said of Nou, “He was very thorough. Reports had to be top-notch. He strived for everyone to do better, and you came away realizing it was worth doing.”
As sheriff, Nou wants to build camaraderie, cohesion and teamwork in the department. He has solid ideas for training and building deputies’ familiarity with all of the islands. He will bring an administrator’s know-how — and, as he puts it, a “fresh set of eyes” — to the job and the challenges the new sheriff will face.
Nou is right for the job. We encourage islanders to vote for him ...
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Brice Mundlin, assistant police chief, Burns, Ore.
Editorial, Aug. 9 SanJuanJournal.com
“He was very thorough. Reports had to be top-notch. He strived for everyone to do better, and you came away realizing it was worth doing.”
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LeAnne GrosJacques, Lopez Island
Letter to the editor, page 10, Aug. 4, The Journal of the San Juan Islands
I would like all our county voters to please go and check the credentials for Rob Nou before coloring in your box on your ballot form. www.robnou4sheriff.com should help you in your decision for choosing someone capable of running our county.
I personally have been involved in the community for many years and do know the candidates. Three of the candidates have had their children in the church program that I was a head of. I have had the opportunity to get to know Rob and ask him many questions. I raised my children in our islands so I do have many concerns of keeping our islands a place where we can have a safe community for our children and families. Rob is the most qualified candidate that we have running.
I feel very confident that he can step up to the job and be outstanding in this position and for our islands.
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Laura Van Cleave, former mayor of Burns, Ore.
Story, July 8 SanJuanJournal.com
"If you're looking for a good sheriff, he would be perfect. I'd vote for him in a minute ...
"I really liked him. I thought he was a really nice guy and a really great police chief. We're a frontier community, miles and miles and miles from anyplace — 130 miles from Bend, 130 miles from anything of any size, so we're very self-contained. We're the biggest county geographically in Oregon and the eighth biggest in the U.S. Some people count their people per square miles, we count square miles per people. Rob just fit in, perfect as far as I'm concerned."