For several years I have been formulating how to solve the jail problems, improve our public safety services, and correct the failures in policy making that have led to the inhumane situation our community faces with the downtown jail.
The Sheriff’s position needs to remember the original concept of a “peace officer”. The job has evolved over time to keep pace with technology and a more complex society, but this root origin remains relevant today. The job is really about policy making and management. We must remain effective in handling emergencies but need better ways of helping people successfully cope with crisis – without further harm to the community. I will ensure public safety but also protect our most vulnerable people. It is not just about criminals, jails, guns and military equipment.
The Sheriff is responsible for those who would threaten our safety and security. Our deputies manage this under the most extreme conditions – while upholding our rights and remaining accountable to the constitutions of the United States, Washington State and our own county charter. There will always be people we need to take off the streets, but the job of bringing peace is not just about enforcing laws and dealing with dangerous people.
We must maintain maximum security facilities like the downtown jail to hold dangerous people until their issues are safely resolved. But it should be a local jail, not a prison, and must be humane. Violent crime has diminished for decades while mental health and addiction issues have increased. Most people arrested are not maximum security offenders. Most detainees are our neighbors, friends and family. We need to emphasize help in resolving their crises to get them released as soon as safely possible.
Jail should be designed to hold people for short terms, until they go to prison, into facilities for treatment, or can be released back into the community. Our minimum security jail on Division Street already does basic work release, work crews, re-entry and low level holds. We can do so much more to improve results and during my campaign I will detail how this can be done.
I stand against the ill-conceived multi-million dollar plan to build a brand new, state-of-the-art, regional prison complex in the rural county. We can do more for less and avoid new taxes by improving conditions at the existing jail. There are better options available.
What does the Sheriff really do?
The Sheriff is responsible for overseeing the three divisions/bureaus of government that support law enforcement and public safety. He has an Undersheriff who is at the top of the Chain of command who reports to the Sheriff. Each of these divisions must be effectively and efficiently managed to ensure a good return on the taxpayers’ investment. They are:
• Law Enforcement and Investigative Services (works under the direction of the Chief Criminal Deputy and Chief Civil Deputy)
• Bureau of Corrections (Whatcom County Jail works under the direction of the Chief of Corrections)
• Emergency Management (Emergency preparedness falls under the Deputy Director who manages and implements these programs and implements plans such as Natural Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Debris Management)
As your Sheriff, my top priority will be to immediately tackle the crisis we all have with the inhumane management of the jail. I will implement alternatives to jail that help people release safely and reduce downstream community costs.
Currently, law enforcement and emergency management are running well and I will work closely with their current leadership on improvements they may propose.
Joy stands for:
• More humane policies and procedures that reduce recidivism
• More humane, and appropriate facilities with better programs
• More interventions, prevention, early treatment, mental health services, rehabilitation, restorative justice, and earlier diversion
• Better reentry, workforce development programs and on-the-job mentoring that helps people get back to work
Joy has spent 9 years studying the jail and justice system, looking for ways it can be improved. Many of the simplest solutions are often resisted by officials in administration, and it requires policy changes and teamwork to get it done. Joy is dedicated to working with staff to make changes with deliberation.
Joy opposes building a big new jail, for the two we already have can be upgraded and made safe and humane right now. Joy thinks we pay enough in taxes for the jail and believes that better management is key. It will save money and produce better public safety and a stronger, more resilient community.
Joy doesn’t think new buildings will solve the problem of an inhumane system. Reducing recidivism, implementing prevention, better management of the facilities, administrative corrections inside the system – these are what can be done to streamline. This is about doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. Joy’s goal is to tackle the root problems that have caused the challenges we currently face. She believes the community is ready to do this. That’s why Joy is running for Sheriff.
Joy believes taxpayers deserve immediate resolution of the inhumane conditions at the jail and want long-term strategies for better outcomes. Taxpayers deserve real answers that produce quality results.
Joy will refocus correctional efforts on getting our neighbors, friends and family the help they need with less harm to their lives, our community and economy.
Joy’s Campaign Goal: To Listen & Learn How to Improve
• Our cities’ law enforcement officers will have ideas for how to improve
• Corrections officers definitely have ideas about the challenges they face
• Elected officials and employees involved with the Sheriff’s office may be able to provide insights into the social, economic, and civil issues that impact jail issues
• Mayors and people from other jurisdictions may share about what they are doing differently to get the best professional results for their communities
I will do everything possible to give you the confidence you need to elect me in November to serve as your Sheriff.
I am grateful for your participation and support.