As of Monday, August 6, 2018
The four candidates for Yakima County sheriff came to Bon Vino’s Friday hoping to attract votes at a candidate forum.
After brief statements, they fielded questions. If either separated himself from the others, the separation was not large.
All four are likable fellows. All are articulate. On some issues they think a lot alike.
“It is a tough election,” candidate Dave Simmons of Zillah said after the forum. “What you really have is four qualified candidates.”
On the one issue of a national nature, all four were vehemently opposed to Sanctuary counties, cities or states.
All four would work with federal authorities but differently.
Simmons would work only on cases that involved serious crime. He said his officers would not be asking about immigration status in most arrests.
Simmons reminded the attendees that some of illegal residents are victims of the people who brought them here. He would be out to protect them as much as any citizen.
“We need to keep their trust,” he said.
Simmons added that his own parents were migrant farm workers when they came to this Valley.
Candidate Nolan Wentz referred to federal agencies like ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as other tools available to the sheriff.
His main concern was that everyone be treated fairly. He believes in good customer service, and everyone in the county is a customer.
“I don’t care what color you are or which language you speak you will be treated fairly by my sheriff’s department.”
Bob Udell noted the sheriff often works with the feds. He noted there is some upcoming opioids sweep which will require cooperation with the Yakama Nation Police.
Candidate Rick Mottice said he would look forward working with federal agencies. But he wouldn’t have them roaming the Valley unannounced.
“The sheriff is the top law enforcement authority in the county,” he said.” “They need to notify us when they want to come in.”
The candidates were asked the advantages of hiring from within as opposed to hiring from outside.
All said either way can produce the right candidate. However, Udell, the chief criminal deputy at the sheriff’s department said he was best suited for the job because he has a package of changes in hand.
Simmons, who has worked his way to chief, said he was best suited for the job because he worked is way up the ladder to chief of one department and was hired as a chief another.
Wentz, who worked at the sheriff’s department and the Yakima Police Department, said that made him qualified as an insider and an outsider.
Mottice said an outsider brings a new pair eyes that can what those in the department have missed.
All four said they would seek to tear down the invisible curtain between Union Gap and the Lower Valley. Simmons went the furthest, saying he consider collocating in Sunnyside.
Sunnyside and Grandview make up a big chunk of the Lower Valley and Sunnyside is the second largest city in the county.