Dear Editor,02-27-11I don’t know what your criteria are for selecting a guest editorialbut request that you considermy letter for publication.It’s something that the citizens of Whatcom County should be aware of because it involves some of their employees-both an elected official andone of the people that worksthat work for him.A few years ago my husband had a decision to make that he knew would impact his career. Itdid.He can’t speak for himself. If he did, he would befired. Actually, my letter may have the sameresult but it’s been a hostile work environmentfor himever since he turned in a memo abouta fellowdeputy. The last five years have been extremely stressful for both of us.My husband is a Whatcom County Deputy Sheriff. He’s a good man and he’s good at his job. Hecame to this job a little later in life than most of his fellow deputies. He was honorably dischargedfromthe Air Force after six years of active dutyservice, followed by a couple of years in the active reservesand then sixyears in the Air Guard. He’s a master mechanic and ran his own repair shop for a number of yearsbefore going to work for a localautomotive repair shop. He wasn’t quite satisfied with his work.He wanted to do something that made a difference. He wanted to help people. He applied for a job asa deputy and he was hired.Hetreats the public with respect, the good people and the not-so-good people. He’sgot ananalytical mind and is great at investigations.In 2004 he was presented with a “Whatcom County PeaceBuilder Public Servant Award” for his actions that resulted in the arrestand subsequent trial andsentencing of a violent, home invasion rapist.A few years ago, a young woman whohasbeenafriendofour daughter’ssince fifth grade,called him in tears. She was ashamed, embarrassedand afraid. This young woman had been anexplorer with the Sheriff’s office. Her inspiration to join was a simple conversation withDeputyMattHerzog shortly before he was killedin the line of duty. One conversation and she too wanted to be inlaw enforcement. While an explorer she became good friends with one of the deputies. He was hermentor. He was the father she never had.Friend, mentor, father figure and then…..the relationshipturned romantic.After graduating from high school theyoung woman joined the Air Forceand entered thesecurity career field. She wantedto ensure that she’d receive the training and experience that she’dneed to havefor acareer in law enforcement. Her relationship with the deputy deepened during herbasic training and when she came home on leave, it heated up.He was a married man, the father of two young children and over ten years her senior. He toldher that he was getting a divorce. He had his own apartment a few blocks from where this youngwoman lived withher grandmother. The night before her 20
birthday he took her out for a nicedinner. He bought her a drink and told her not to worry because she “looked old enough.”He had more than one drink. When it was time to drive home, he got angry with her becauseshe thought he was a little tipsy and shouldn’t drive.Hedroveher back to his place.She didn’t reallywant to go inside because he’d been angry with her but she went in. He got them bothsome wine andshe had a glass. She woke up several hours later, still in his apartment, unsure of what had happenedand afraid.She walked home to her grandmother’s. That night was the last time she sawhim.