The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Sheriff Mark Howie
Wahkiakum County Sheriff 

Sheriff's Corner

Officers discuss issues with US attorney general

 

September 28, 2017

Wahkiakum County Sheriff Mark Howie, right, recently met U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He and other police chiefs and sheriffs from around the state discussed various topics in law enforcement. Photo courtesy of Mark Howie.

On September 19, I joined 18 other sheriffs and police chiefs around the state who were invited to meet with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I was among a select number of agency heads, including neighboring sheriffs from Pacific County and Cowlitz County, invited to meet with the nation's top law enforcement officer. The Attorney General kept to his word in meeting with local law enforcement wherever he was able, and he took the time to meet with us after visiting family in Bremerton the previous weekend.

During the hour-long meeting, the topics included a variety of issues. At the beginning, he stressed how public safety is of top priority to him. Since 2015, 56,000 people have died from opioid overdose. Opioids include heroin, fentanyl, and a multitude of narcotic pain pills prescribed by doctors.

Stopping the drug cartels at the border is paramount to limiting the number of illegal drugs that come into this country, according to Sessions. Nearly 96 percent of the illegal drugs today are smuggled into the country through Mexico. What we have today is unprecedented. We have a drug sold in its purest form ever on the street and at historic low prices. It will only get worse.

Border patrol was discussed, and that includes tighter security at both the northern as well as southern borders. The discussion of illegal immigration centered around criminal illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in our communities. For those who may be arrested in our county and also suspected of being an illegal immigrant, due to a U.S. District Court ruling in 2014, we do not hold suspected illegal immigrants for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement 48 hours past their release dates. This is in line with the ruling which said it was unconstitutional. In Wahkiakum County we have not had any requests to detain illegal immigrants from ICE in the past seven years. Where crime is concerned, however, the sheriff's office would continue to support and cooperate with ICE and sees public safety as primary.

The attorney general was clear about his view of marijuana, and while he understands that it is legal in several states, he believes in the rule of law, and that despite the states' legalization, he reminded all that it is still a federal crime.

Sheriffs asked questions as well, including topics of drones and problems of security around ports with submarines or other military installations.

All in all, it was a great opportunity to hear from and have the ear of the United States attorney general.

 

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