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
San Juan Island