Thu, Mar 23, 2023
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Willapa Harbor Herald
Lewis County News
Traveler's Companion
(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577

Sheriff Johnson Defends Staff in Schwan's Theft

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Her letter contained many inaccuracies, and factually incorrect statements. To be honest, it was very hurtful to those of us that worked hard to try to solve a case from earlier this year when the local Schwan's delivery person had products stolen from his truck in the Rue Creek area. We diligently investigated this incident and followed each lead, but unfortunately there was no evidence or facts that would allow us to arrest the persons of interest in this case. Contrary to what was stated in the letter, I am not in any way related to, nor do I know either person that was suspected to be involved. 
To be fair, one of the deputies involved in the investigation is distantly related to one of the persons we were initially interested in; however none of the other staff involved had any ties and they ensured that the investigation was done fairly and impartially. Unfortunately, in a small community such as ours, this is sometimes unavoidable. It was, however, the reason that we kept other impartial staff on the case so that there was no perception of unfairness.

On a side note, my family had befriended the Schwan's salesman that was involved in this case, and just like the letter writer, we all wanted this case to come to justice and be solved. Not one person involved, did not feel compassionate about the fact that the victim was potentially going to have to pay for the loss out of his own pocket. It made it all the harder that he was a very polite, likeable young man.

I should also point out that this incident was not a robbery as stated in the Letter to the was a theft case. I spoke with the citizen that wrote the letter earlier tonight, and told her that we put forth great effort to solve this crime, and that I had personally called the victim during the investigation to make sure he knew we were trying our best to find the person or persons responsible. There were six members of our staff working to try to solve the case, but as sometimes happens, we had no witnesses to the crime, and no evidence to prove that the persons of interest actually committed the theft. We had a vehicle description, but no license number. Numerous searches of the area did not turn up a vehicle matching the description. We can't arrest without proof. 
I'll be the first to say that we are not perfect, but that doesn't mean we don't try to be. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, but in this case I do not feel that the comments in the Letter to the Editor, though well intended, were just, nor did they accurately reflect the effort put forth by our staff to solve the case.

We will continue to do our absolute best with the resources we have, and we will make every effort to be transparent to the citizens we serve. I have always had an open door policy and encourage you to feel free to call or meet with me personally if you have comments or concerns about this case, or any case. 


Pacific County Sheriff

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