The Washington Fraternal Order of Police (WAFOP) issued the following statement strongly supporting today’s Washington State Supreme Court decision regarding the petition to recall Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher. In a unanimous opinion, the Court summarized its decision that all eight charges in the recall petition are legally and factually sufficient and may proceed to be put before the voters.
“As dedicated law enforcement officers, we are never happy to see one of our own accused of misdeeds. But the public demands and deserves all police officers be accountable to the laws they are sworn to uphold. This is especially true for those who are selected to lead local law enforcement forces,” said WAFOP president Marco Monteblanco. “When a sheriff allegedly engages in unlawful conduct and subsequently loses the respect and support of the officers he is supposed to lead, it creates a negative situation that threatens the safety of the people we are sworn to protect and serve.
“Today’s Supreme Court opinion is an important step in the due process for holding elected officials accountable under state law. The recall effort moving forward ensures that the public will have the opportunity to carefully consider the charges against Sheriff Hatcher and decide whether they want him to continue serving them as their sheriff."
He added, “Washington Fraternal Order of Police members are committed to strengthening the bond between peace offices and their communities through integrity, transparency, and accountability.”