Letters to the Editor

Supports Nou for San Juan County sheriff

I have read letters from both sides stating the writers' minds regarding the race for Sheriff of San Juan County. Many of those letters came from people who were not here when I began my career as a San Juan County Deputy Sheriff, nearly 20 years ago.

Both of the candidates have qualities I like and respect. I've heard both speak in open forum and during personal conversations. They both have their own views as to where the department can or should go for the future. And, as some have said, they seem to be nearly equal in abilities and experience. I want to outline the difference as I see it.

While Lead Detective Brent Johnson does have more than 20 years of policing, it was with the big-city police department of Albuquerque, N.M., which had approximately 400,000 inhabitants in 2000, almost 30 times the size of San Juan County. He supervised a team of officers which was likely larger than the entire San Juan County Sheriff's Office patrol staff. He reported to a shift lieutenant and a sector commander. He brings with him all those beliefs of how to maintain order in a large city.

In contrast, Rob was most recently police chief for the rural city of Burns, Ore. There, he administered a department of four to five officers and a regional communications center. Prior to being chief in Burns, he spent more than 20 years with the Yamhill County, Ore., Sheriff's Department, reaching the level of sergeant. He also built and administered their crash investigation team, which responded to critical collisions, with five to 12 on-call officers.

Rob has an associate's degree in Administration of Justice from Los Angeles Valley College and a bachelor's degree from Oregon College of Education. He was also selected for and attended the FBI National Academy, achieving the highest level of education for law enforcement command individuals. He regularly attends ongoing update education with the academy.

Having worked side by side with Rob Nou for a little over two years, I've observed him scold, counsel, teach and learn. He has integrated himself into the Lopez Island community on several levels, often wearing his various hats of deputy, firefighter, and EMT, and because of this, and because of his personal nature, he has earned the support and respect of the entire community.

A little over two years ago, Rob came for a visit at the request of his Orcas Island friend, Deputy Bruce Distler. He fell in love with the islands and the lifestyle. He has made the commitment to give the islands everything he has, and he has done that every day.

He is not from a huge agency in an immense city. His professional life has been spent in smaller communities and rural surroundings. He is dedicated to making and keeping the islands safe, as we have known them to be.

I firmly believe Rob Nou IS what it takes to be our next sheriff of San Juan County.

Jim Tyrrell
Deputy sheriff, San Juan County

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