Letter to the editor: Why I’m supporting Susanna Johnson for sheriff


Snohomish County Sheriff incumbent Adam Fortney is being challenged by Susanna Johnson.

I am grateful to her for courageously stepping up to the challenge of replacing someone who in the past claimed that he preferred to not enforce a mandate from Gov. Inslee, and who has recently aligned with groups that have far right-wing beliefs. Fortney re-hired deputies who were investigated by the SMART team in 2019, and dismissed, due to egregiously not following police procedures. Under Fortney’s watch, the Sheriff’s Office lost its accreditation in 2021, which Johnson had helped to secure. And Fortney has been working toward getting that back since he filed for re-election of this campaign.

It seems that Johnson would not have allowed the loss of accreditation to occur. I agree with the community organizers and influencers, as well as past sheriffs and others, who believe that she is more qualified than Fortney because of her integrity, experience and leadership, among other things.

And because candidates gather with constituents and leaders at parks, homes, breweries and other community venues, we have a better  opportunity to meet candidates running for office than we had during the pandemic. I have learned that Johnson has other wonderful qualities —  boundless energy, a dry sense of humor, mental toughness, and an approachable demeanor.

I am hoping Susanna Johnson will be the new Snohomish County Sheriff in November.

Rita Koenigs

  1. I am also supporting Susanna Johnson for Sheriff. It is not the job of the Sheriff to choose which laws to enforce and which to not enforce, and by doing so Mr. Fortney has proven himself unfit to serve another term. His other actions as outlined here only further show the deep corruption that Mr. Fortney brings to the position.

  2. Please don’t take statements without looking into candidates yourself. It takes five minutes.

    Sheriff Fourtney, like all public servants, took an oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the United States and of the State of Washington. He navigated a very difficult time through the pandemic and is working diligently to creatively stem the destruction of the fentanyl and resulting crime flood in our area. He works with people of all ideologies and perspectives to bridge gaps and get the job done. He is a truly non partisan bridge in making our community safer. He works with businesses, neighborhoods, and other government agencies for our community safety. He helps those who come out of addiction and prostitution to become productive members of our society through mentorship programs and connection. Lead the Way is an impressive program that deserves attention. Please see his website to read about him yourself. This is not about far right, far left, forget those subjective and misleading terms. This is about public safety, number one concern of many residents and businesses.
    His record of real transparency, compassion, effectiveness, and cooperation with multiple agencies speaks for itself.

    1. The person he had up here endorsing him Mark Lamb is a far-right “Constitutional Sheriff”. That is not an opinion that’s a fact. It has NEVER been the role or the job of a law enforcement leader to decide What is and what is not “constitutional” That has always been and still is the job of the state and federal judiciary. Susanna Johnson was a CAPTAIN and a Bearau Chief when Fortney was a graveyard Sgt. She has almost DOUBLE the experience he has. 30 years at the Sheriff’s office and the last 3 as the Assistant Chief of Police for Bothel. She will not end any positive program like the one you mention but unlike Fortney, she is the REAL non-partisan candidate in this race. She has been endorsed by EVERY living Former Snohomish County Sheriff some liberal some very conservative. Sorry but to me it’s easy to see Fortney has sent up a smoke screen to try to come off as a moderate. But we both know that is just not true. And he does not work with people from all ideologies. It’s time for real leadership.

  3. I too support Susanna Johnson. The information abt Mr. Fortney’s actions are not misinformation. I’m so glad Ms. Johnson is running and will be voting for her.

  4. Losing accreditation is appalling. Would you trust a school that reported, “We’re sorry. We lost our accreditation”? Or a hospital?

    I’m very grateful that Susanna Johnson has stepped up.

  5. The office of Sheriff is not a political position even though we vote for a candidate we support. King Country and several others have the Sheriff as an appointed position. The duties of the office are enormous and involve keeping the county safe for all.
    Law Enforcement is a very visible occupation! These members of the LE Community are targeted each and every day. Our county has a very sound leader.!

    1. Sorry, but his record speaks for itself and he has made his position political with his words and actions. Sheriffs are not the deciding authority on what is and what is not constitutional. Having a person like Mark Lamb come and support him speaks volumes too.

  6. Our household is voting to RE ELECT Sheriff Adam Fortney, Snohomish County’s ONLY competent, fearless, and worthy choice in keeping law & order.
    Sheriff Fortney has the experience and respect from his deputies, staff, and the community because he does the right thing, he is a man of integrity, grit, and holds those who break the law accountable.
    Sheriff Fortney is committed to safety and protecting the citizen’s of Snohomish as well as getting those who break the law, the help they need. Educate yourself to the FACTS about Sheriff Fortney and stop listening to the disinformation. “Let’s Go Adam!”

  7. Adan Fortney has my vote! I have heard him on many occasions and he is always sincere and genuine. He puts the safety of our community and it’s businesses first. He has the endorsement of 8 Police Guilds and many with whom he works. His administration’s achievement in the county jail was remarkable during covid. Sheriff Fortney is a leader with courage and integrity which is sadly lacking in many of our elected officials today. Yes to Adam Fortney.

  8. Sheriff Fourtney Is respected and supported by officers. Who is Sussana Johnson and what has she done for officers? If your against Fourtney are you against being tough on crime and criminals? Vote for Fourtney, and safety in our communities.

    1. 33 years in LE. 30 YEARS at the sheriff’s office. When Fortney was Sgt she was a Captain and a Bureau chief. She is currently the assistant Chief of Police for Bothell. She is endorsed by all 5 former county sheriffs both liberal AND CONSERVATIVE. That’s who she is. And she has a far better resume than he could ever think of. She worked in the K9 unit She worked in SWAT. She worked as a Detective. And She is tough on crime. But she also knows how to be honest and not rehire deputies who dishonored their uniform.

  9. Re-elect Adam Fortney for Sherriff if you want law and order. In response to off-hand comments: Gov Inslee lost accreditation for Western State Hospital despite years to correct problems. Truly appalling! It takes years to lose accredidation. Unconstitutional mandates do not constitute “laws”, and how many laws have progressive law enforcement ignored including enforcement of firearms violations? Sheriff Fortney reversed previous policy (see Susanne Johnson) of releasing apprehended law breakers at the scene of the crime if the perp was on drugs…not so great for violated citizens. Fortney’s “Lead the Way” program to keep youth out of jail and reverse recidivism is highly successful and being used as an expanding model. His opening of the jail keeping all requirements when most others stayed closed during covid was also a model around the state. Look at endorsements from the law enforcement agencies and unions if you have any questions unless you just don’t trust law enforcement. Sheriff Fortney supports all Snohomish citizens regardless of your politics and he models compassionate enforcement for lawbreakers. Let’s not go back to the prior insane policies.

  10. Before worrying about accreditation take a look at the website for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. You will find that most Sheriffs agencies are not accredited. King County Pierce County and Skagit County are not on the list either, it is hugely dominated by local police departments. Accreditation is a voluntary process for agencies, not any sort of governmental requirement, and is a nice thing to do nut not required. To pursue accreditation takes significant time and other resources for an agency that could be used for other purposed that might make a difference on the street. I am not taking a political stand and just want to suggest that stressing lack of accreditation is a “red herring” and not a serious way to judge a law enforcement agency or its leadership.

  11. “Look at endorsements from the law enforcement agencies and unions if you have any questions unless you just don’t trust law enforcement.”

    Explain this. 5 former county sheriffs some conservative some liberal and all of them are endorsing her. And are you aware that when the Snohomish county deputies association voted it was not really a vote since her name was not even on the ballot?

    And since when was it a good idea to ask employees who their BOSS should be? I have heard that many deputies who voted for him did so because he “lets them do what they want” In other words no LEADERSHIP.

  12. I want to thank David Gow for pointing out on 8/9/23 at 10:16 pm that several other jurisdictions are not covered (he said ‘most’). I have to ask why not? Why wouldn’t every jurisdiction aspire to achieving accreditation? At Mr Gow’s invitation to readers to visit the WASPC website, I did and in so doing found a video produced by the WASPC describing the value to the community of an accredited LE agency. Under 3 minutes, I invite you to watch their video and then ask your LE’s why they are not accredited (if they are not) and absolutely ask why one that did have it, let it go: https://youtu.be/2t_2MuFWZOI

  13. As someone who spent 20 years in the military and knows a little bit about leadership, my opinion is that Adam Fortney is an ineffective leader and unqualified to be Snohomish County Sheriff. Even one of the two unions representing his employees does not endorse him. As a self-proclaimed “Constitutional Sheriff” he seems to think and act like he is a law unto himself. These are not just my opinions; read for yourself:


      1. What is a non-partisan race has unsurprisingly become a partisan race. The typical hearsay, name-calling and biased journalism has tainted much. Reviewing Susanna’s endorsements is like a WA who’s who of support that gas gotten us to where we are in the devolvement of our state. From the school board where citizens are called “hater” for advocating teaching reading, writing, arithmetic and civics to and abysmal literacy rates state officials who despite over 90% public opposition to SB 5599 passed state legalized kidnapping of children without parental knowledge with any medical procedure without minimum age restrictions. Dave Reichert saw the concerns with Susanna’s proposed policies and rescinded his endorsement, something you almost never see in politics. This brings it to the voters if they want to go back to permissive law enforcement or keep Adam Fortney and LE focus on true public safety.

        1. I think Mr. Fortney made it partisan, if that is what it is. I’m not quite sure what the rest of your response is saying, but elections are about choices that voters make. You believe one way and in certain candidates that support your beliefs, values, etc. and some other voter believes differently and votes accordingly.

  14. This race is a prime example of why counties are appointing Sheriffs and not having anything to do with elections. This is a non partisan issue! Now if one wants to point to true and accurate points of voting for them, tell me what he/she can do better .
    No BS! Why are you better for us? I don’t care who in Olympia endorses you! Either on of you tell me how Snohomish County is going to be better

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