Stay the course with Krebs | Letter

My sense is that we are doing quite well having Ron Krebs as Sherriff. Why change what isn’t broken?

Sure there have been some awkward moments, as anyone in such a high-profile position will experience

in this insular, small County fishbowl. We live in an unusual place of trust and hope that is profoundly

different than the violent crime-ridden big city of Houston, Texas.

I count it a major plus that Krebs has had other career paths that balance his perspective. I have talked

with him about specific issues many times as Sherriff. I well remember his articulate and compassionate

understanding of the causal relationship between a lack of affordable housing and compounding stress,

family abuse and low-level crime. He has followed through with increasing the diversity of deputies to

better reflect our community. More cops out of their cars; but there is more to do. We have our share

of troubled characters hanging out in Friday Harbor. I have been impressed with his respect for the first

amendment rights of all individuals and seeing law enforcement as a tool to persuade, rather than

punish, some non-violent offenders.

I worked closely with many law enforcement rangers in the National Park Service who transferred to

lightly visited, huge Alaska park units previously having been stationed in urban, urban-influenced or

rowdy recreational parks in the lower 48. With few exceptions, individuals from serious crime area

postings, especially after many years, have a hardened perspective that makes necessary adjustments to

quirky, small-town problems with only a sprinkling of violent crime, very difficult. There is some truth in

the old saw “if you only carry a hammer, you see every problem as a nail”.

Sheriff Krebs has an Islander’s “family is the foundation for community” view, and has spent years

building good working relationships here (seldom easy) with changing County Councils, prosecutors,

EMS, Fire, business leaders and federal and State agencies working daily in complex cooperative roles. I

believe that he shares our common desire to live in a safe, cohesive, respectful and slower paced


Steve Ulvi,

San Juan Island