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To the Editor:

November 3rd is fast approaching and I think many of us are looking forward to life beyond the election.

This letter is in strong support for Bart Olson as our next Kittitas County Sheriff. The same administration in the sheriff’s office has been in place for approximately 20 years. It is time for a change in that department to bring a fresh set of eyes and perspective. Central Washington University (CWU) law and justice graduate and 28-year law enforcement agent, Bart Olson, is that person.

An issue that is not widely discussed but is very personal and heartbreaking to many people in our community is the ever-rising drug problem. It’s never easy to admit a problem exists, however, Kittitas County is no longer a sleepy little community protected and sheltered from these difficulties. Many of us know people or have family members that suffer from addiction. Providing services and support for addicts is critical, however, of greater importance is working to prevent people from becoming an addict. Better education from a young age in our school systems would help, but that is a matter for another time. In this case, strict law enforcement and coordinated support among agencies is vital. Bart Olson has proposed a collaboration with all law enforcement agencies in our community to build a team and work towards a common goal- eliminating the sale and use of illegal drugs. Olson’s plan is to appoint a deputy or detective to work with CWU, Ellensburg Police Department, Kittitas Police Department, Cle Elum Police Department and federal partners as needed to achieve this goal.

Crime statistics also reflect a rise in use and ultimately drug sales in the county. According to the Kittitas County Coroner statistics, drug related deaths in 2018 were 5, in 2019 they rose to 15. The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Department annual report indicates traffic stops went from 2,781 in 2018 to 3,610 in 2019. Furthermore, only one arrest was made in 2019 for delivery of drugs. This needs to change and drug dealers need to be targeted in our community before they harm more families.

Lives are being lost and adversely affected. Families are hurting and grieving, mine included. We need Bart Olson at the helm to navigate us through these very trying times.

Bart Olson for Kittitas County Sheriff!

Connie Dunnington

Ellensburg

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