Letters to the Editor

Supports Asher for San Juan County sheriff

I am pleased to see that Jeff Asher decided to run for San Juan County sheriff. I believe Jeff will bring needed change to this department and will do an excellent job running it.

As a member of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Dive Rescue Team, I have had the privilege of working with Jeff Asher for almost six years. During that time, I have witnessed first-hand his abilities as a team builder, teacher, and leader. He is passionate about his role and has built this all-volunteer group, with little or no funding or support from the Sheriff’s Department, into a smoothly functioning and highly respected team.

Jeff has not only drilled us in search and rescue, but he has also spent much time training us in interviewing techniques and proper evidence recovery and handling. These skills are essential when called out to help find a person and there is no way to ascertain the circumstances of that person’s disappearance.

I joined the dive team six years ago with no previous training or experience in search and rescue. During the ensuing years, Jeff Asher has led team meetings and drills and built our dive team into a cohesive group that is respected and utilized by agencies from surrounding counties. In addition to numerous call-outs here in San Juan County, we have assisted with recoveries in Whatcom and Skagit counties and participated in the search for a missing diver in Island County.

Under Jeff’s leadership, in past years we have conducted inter-departmental drills, not only with other San Juan County agencies, but with those from as far away as Seattle. It is vitally important to maintain a close working relationship with outside agencies to enable us to perform as required when help is requested by other departments.

Because of the training we have gotten through Jeff and because of Jeff’s leadership and passion, San Juan County boasts one of the finest dive rescue teams in the Northwest. Jeff has shaped a team that is willing to work the long hours needed to ensure the safety of its members in potentially life-threatening situations. A team that is available 24/7 to assist in the often grim job of search and recovery. A team that knows that because of the training we have received we can do, with confidence, the things necessary to help bring closure to the families of those who were lost.

I am confident that Jeff will bring the leadership qualities he has displayed in his role as dive team leader to the office of San Juan County sheriff. I encourage everybody to vote for Jeff and see for themselves how well he will be able to lead this department.

Jeff Morris
Orcas Island

— Editor's note: Morris is not the state legislator, but the owner of Morris Plumbing & Heating on Orcas Island.

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