Letter to the editor: The reality of police union endorsements


Everyone most likely has seen the Fortney For Sheriff signs with all the local police union endorsements. What is notable is that only nine of the 15 county police agencies endorsed. Why not the other six? Only four of nine interviewed Susanna Johnson. I doubt if any met with Mr. Fortney.

What voters should know is how the endorsements are obtained. I speak from experience as a retired (26-year) deputy and eight years as the Deputy Sheriff Association President (DSA). Police unions are like a fraternal group in that they tend to stick together. After the DSA made their endorsement, the other police unions followed suit and in a couple cases did so before the DSA endorsed. So how then did Mr. Fortney secure the DSA endorsement? The DSA bylaws were so ambiguous they were interpreted to say that the incumbent automatically gets the endorsement unless he/she does something so outrageous to warrant taking it away. In past years when I was president, both candidates’ names would have been placed on a secret ballot and sent to each DSA member for their vote. This was not done in this race and her name was never on the ballot so the members could have a choice.

To those who think because a candidate has all these police union endorsements they deserve your vote, take the time to look at their experience, education, vision and decide based upon your own without basing it on what some police unions have said.

Ken Crowder, retired deputy
Past president, DSA

  1. My wife and I were present at a campaign launch for Susanna Johnson. We were quite impressed with her personal drive and certainly with her many years of experience with the department that she seeks to manage to improved performance. She only left that work because of differing perspectives with her opponent on how the agency should be operated. I’ll admit that while I was well satisfied with her as the new Sheriff, I’d be hard pressed not to prefer anyone over the current Sheriff. In a city like Edmonds with its own police force, one might not pay much attention to the words and actions of a County Sheriff. If you did, you’d well remember his immediate reinstatement of discharged deputies, his intransigence in dealing with the public health crisis of Covid which conforms to the widespread attitudes of the body of “ Constitutional” sheriffs – though he denies being a member of that bloc. Now is the opportunity to be able to say “ there’s going to be a new Sheriff in (county)”. KOK, Edmonds

  2. Taking the time to look at the candidates experience, education, vision and whether or not they are supported by their peers is extremely important. That is why I am confident that Sheriff Fortney is the candidate of choice.

    1. Adam Fortney is an exceptional sheriff who with his team, kept our jail successfully open during covid. He is a non-partisan sheriff while his opponent clearly has the democrat party money and endorsements behind her. Who will she need to favor? We have enough politics in government – this office shouldn’t be one of them. Adam Fortney has done an amazing job during a very difficult time. Fortney has my vote.

    2. “I doubt…”, ” I heard…”, “decide based on your own…”: Do you think Snohomish County is safer now than before? Especially considering the special circumstances of the last 4 years. The big push to defund law enforcement, the crazy laws concerning pursuit and apprehension of criminals, many folks losing jobs, drug crisis and homeless growing with enabling programs.
      Sheriff Fortney bucked the trend of declining law enforcement effort and has public safety and outreach programs we haven’t had for years or ever. What is informing your vote decision? Uninformed personal emotions and rumors or looking at public safety? Vote Fortney.

    3. The Sheriff’s “peers” are Chiefs and Administrators. Have any of those people endorsed Adam? None of his bosses have.

  3. I like Law & Order.
    I like to know that the Sheriff will protect & defend our Constitutional rights and personal freedoms.
    Sheriff Fortney stood in the breach when the tyrannical Government of Washington was mandating masks, forcing people to get vaxed or lose their jobs and lockdowns (FYI: I was vaxed, I chose to wear a mask/I limited my trips out of the house because I CHOSE to).
    All of this without any medically sound proof that any if it was effective. Now we know that it wasn’t. Now we know that the State will overstep the reasonable power WE give them to override OUR Constitutional rights, without further consent from us.
    Wake up!
    Adam Fortney has proven to me that he is a person of integrity and that he’s an effective leader who is balanced, caring, and a logically-thinking person in a very tough role during a Pandemic while our Legislators went about their business to virtually tie the hands of Law enforcement- have we forgotten this?
    Don’t fall for it.
    This is not the time for change.

    Adam Fortney cares about ALL of the people he serves. He is a common sense leader that has no political agenda. He doesn’t answer to outside influences.

    Please protect our public safety and RE-ELECT Sheriff Fortney.

  4. Sheriff Adam Fortney has been endorsed by the Edmonds Police Officers Guild, along with MLT, Mill Creek, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Monroe, Arlington, and the Snohomish County Deputies Association.
    Some Guilds such as Mukilteo and Marysville, have a policy not to endorse candidates.
    I have attended some of Sheriff Adam Fortney’s events where his employees speak extremely high of him, even though they had originally supported the former sheriff when Adam took over. Many long-time deputies refer to him as the best sheriff they had ever worked for.
    Adam Fortney has been a great Sheriff during unprecendented trying times. His outreach to community has been impressive with his youth program LEAD the Way that is changing at risk youth’s lives, his street fairs to connect with community, and his monthly meetings with business owners in South Everett.
    Public safety is his top priority. Mine too.
    I’m voting for Adam Fortney.

  5. This is probably one of the most valuable comments I’ve read on this site. I’ve generally used the police officers and fire fighters unions’ endorsements as one of my considerations in how I vote. This perspective is particularly welcome.

  6. Thank you, Kevin, for your important message. It was discouraging during the worst part of Covid, to have Adam Fortney telling people to ignore state mandates for safety during Covid. I have been anticipating this election as an opportunity to replace him.

  7. Both candidates presented to the membership. After the presentation, there was a motion to continue to endorse Sheriff Fortney which passed. The membership had the option to not pass this motion and to potentially make a motion to add Susanna Johnson to the ballot but chose not to. A ballot went out to our entire membership, who overwhelmingly voted to continue to endorse Sheriff Fortney.

    These are the facts and we are disappointed that our endorsement would be misconstrued to mean something else.

    Thank you

    Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff’s Association

    1. The State legislature failed 30 times to conduct a constitutionally mandatory review of the emergency powers while hospitals within the U.W. Healthcare system allowed covid positive workers to have contact with patients without notifying patients…verifiable. That validates the ‘mandates’ weren’t implemented for our safety.

    2. Thank you Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff’s Association for this info. I am planning to vote for Sheriff Fortney. I don’t know too much about Sheriff Fortney but I do remember an incident here that was very serious and he and his deputies were here immediately to assist when we needed his help. I thought that was great myself.

      1. Politics do not belong in a law enforcement selection process! Choose the proper person who is concerned with your safety and the enforcement of the laws! Sheriff Fortney is that person. Above all he is a good person

    3. As the past DSA President I have great respect for the deputies that serve. I stand by my letter and nothing has been shown to prove otherwise. A letter posted by Sheriff Fortney actually gave credence to some of what I said. The fact still is the fact there was no ballot that went out to all the DSA members with both names on it for the members to vote. Facts are facts no matter how hard you try to spin them.

      1. With all due respect, Mr Crowder, you seem to be the spin doctor. Your LTE is titled “The reality of Police Union Endorsements.”
        Your claim that because Fortney’s opponents name was never put on the ballot, the endorsement was not properly vetted and that the DSA acted improperly.
        As a result you degrade the endorsement of Sheriff Fortney, implying it is meaningless.

        According to the DSA, there was a thorough process conducted in their consideration of both candidates, and there was an opportunity for the candidates to debate each other on policy in the presence of the DSA, which happened.
        It is disingenuous of you to exclude information that would be counter to your premise in order to make your point.
        If you were unaware of the actions taken by the DSA to determine their endorsement, fair enough, it can happen. But if that is the case, please be forthright and apologize to the public, to the DSA and to Sheriff Fortney for the damage done by your ignorance of the situation.
        So which one is it?
        Uninformed or deceitful?

        Please see Adam Fortney FB response link here.

        1. So it’s settled: Mr Crowders LTE was deceitful. Thanks for providing his response which provided that clarification.

          Readers: Please see later comments in this thread.

        2. I watched this video and it was really good. A real nice group of people helping young people find their way out of trouble etc. The folks attending that 8 week course seemed very happy and glad to be there too. The Deputies and Sheriff Fortney were so nice and engaged with all of them. It made me smile.

    4. She should have been on the ballot to begin with. It shouldn’t have been a vote to add her then vote to see who to endorse. From the get go it should have been both of them on the ballot then let the people vote who to endorse!!! How can you get endorsed if you aren’t even on the ballot?? It makes no sense!!!

    5. Out of curiosity about the process, how many votes would be required for that ballot with one name to pass? Could one vote seal the deal for the person who gets that first nomination? Wouldn’t a ballot with both names on it be a better way to assess who has the most support from the membership?

  8. I want law and order, too. And common sense and compassion. I would like to implore readers to look into Sheriff Adam Fourtney for re-election for Snohomish County Sheriff. On his website he clearly posts his vision statement. While Sheriff Fourtney believes in and actively works to defend the constitution (which all our government officials make an oath to uphold), he treats all people as human beings of worth and dignity. He has created the Sheriff’s LEAD the Way Program. That stands for leadership, encouragement, and direction. Kids ages 13-17 who have gotten themselves into trouble are invited to attend a one-night a week program for eight weeks to learn how to navigate life. This man leaves his family and his kids to help others before they go down a very dark road. These kids may, as a result, avoid a lot of heartache, records, and legal expenses with earlier intervention and a man like Adam Fourtney walking alongside. Here’s a link to see what the program looks like and works through. Do you want safety? Here’s a powerful tool.


    This man cares about his community, safety, compassion, and goes beyond what is required. He brings civility.

  9. In the 56 years that I have lived in Sno Co and voted, in my opinion, (and I try very hard to stay informed) Adam Fortney is the best, proactive and community involved Sheriff we have every had. Previously, no Sheriff has faced the obstacles that Sheriff Fortney has: covid challenges, short staff which puts us in competition with other LE depts, the legislature with their woke agaenda, namely pursuit of suspects, the onslaught of homeless and addicted homeless just to name a few. He has instituted Lead the Way for at risk youth, cleaned up homeles areas which had trashed neighborhoods, just to point out a couple of examples of his community involvement. There is no doubt in my mind that Sheriff Adam Fortney is the man I trust to continue to do great things for the safety of our County. He is one of the group of young sheriffs our State has been lucky to get elected and they freely share theur opinions with the legislature to improve public safety and arrests. Now if only the DA’s would do the same, we wouldn’t have catch and release.

  10. MEN:
    It appears that Ken Crowder has made a false representation on this topic. He effectively spread disinformation regarding the endorsement of Sheriff Fortney by the DSA and used his position to add credibility.

    It is unacceptable and a dishonest representation that has very likely influenced the opinions of some readers. He wordsmithed as if he had the inside scoop! Clearly he was not being truthful.
    His claim that the process was unfair & shady was slanderous and disrespectful to the DSA.

    “her name was never on the ballot so the members could have a choice.”

    Will MEN demand a correction from Mr, Crowder?

    According to the rules of engagement provided by MEN:
    My Edmonds News Code of Conduct

    “By registering to post on My Edmonds News, you agree to abide by this Code of Conduct. While our code is in fact a set of guidelines, any deliberate violation of the following points – especially those that harm other members – will result in a loss of site privileges”
    My Edmonds News users agree to not do the following:
    . . .
    – deliberately post stories that are untrue, false or misleading
    . . .
    My Edmonds News readers will:
    – be accountable for stories they post and follow up by correcting known errors; . . .”

    Will Mr. Crowder lose his site privileges ?

      1. Mr. Crowder’s response indicates he stands by his letter. His letter claimed that “The DSA bylaws were so ambiguous they were interpreted to say that the incumbent automatically gets the endorsement unless he/she does something so outrageous to warrant taking it away”.

        However, the Snohomish County Deputies Association says that there was a motion. A motion is an action, not something that is automatic.

        Will Mr. Crowder now lose site privileges under the My Edmonds News Code of Conduct?

        My Edmonds News users agree to not do the following:

        – deliberately post stories that are untrue, false or misleading

        1. I reached out to Mr. Crowder for his response to clarify: “Ms. Johnson’s name was not put on the ballot electronically mailed to each DSA member is accurate. I have since learned there was a motion made at a membership meeting to place each candidate on the ballot. Only the motion for Fortney passed therefore only his name was placed on the ballot. At the meeting where the candidates debated and that motion was made there was approx. 25% of the membership in attendance,not much of a representation but majority rules. Mr. Fortney has stated that he reached out to the police unions who endorsed him. Still only 4 of the unions took the time to interview Ms. Johnson which makes my point on how police union endorsements are made.”

  11. Being a union member with a large aviation manufacturer and retire police officer from Idaho, I fully support Sheriff Fortney. The opposition candidate shows that she ethics because lack of responsibility for her own actions under previous administration that resulted in termination of three deputies. Even my union attempts to right the wrong of termination which results most employees being restated.
    From my previous employment in law enforcement. Sheriff Fortney has a proactive approach. The best example is south Everett how the area changing for the better and crime has reduced. The opposite candidate well just undo the positive work of law enforcement and community leaders.

  12. It is sad to see the LTEs used to slander without facts. It lends no credibility to the organization that sanctions it.

  13. Thanks for reaching out to Mr. Crowder, Teresa. I imagine you will be thankful when election season is behind us.

    My interpretation of his response is that his response supports an argument that his original letter was misleading. The endorsement was hardly automatic. Action was needed and the motion took place.

    We also know that the Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff’s Association stated that they are disappointed that their endorsement would be misconstrued to mean something else.

    If Mr. Crowder’s site privileges aren’t revoked, I’ll try to remember to be on alert should he write something in the future on My Edmonds News. I’ll try to remember to try and verify his representations.

    I am thankful the the Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff’s Association noticed this letter and made the comment they made two days ago.

  14. None of this surprises me. I have watched Adam Fortney both take credit for work accomplished before him, and blame others for things he is absolutely responsible for, while also claiming he has accomplished thinks I KNOW to be false. That is especially alarming coming from a “constitutional sheriff” that believes his authority is above every other official in the state, and has stated publicly he will not enforce laws “he” thinks are “unconstitutional”. That describes a king not a sheriff. No thanks.

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