PROSSER, WA - The letter below was sent by the Benton County Board of Commissioners to the members of the Benton County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild.
June 30, 2020
To the members of the Benton County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild:
We, the Benton County Board of Commissioners, are writing this letter to you all to express our support of your recent unanimous vote to approve a recall petition for Sheriff Jerry Hatcher. We applaud your continued dedication and commitment to our community and our safety in the face of hardship.
We understand the difficulty of your work and want to reiterate our support of your efforts. However, we wish to address the concerns your media statement brought forth regarding receiving “no support or response from the County Administration.”
We wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Sheriff Hatcher and his abundantly clear inability to continue to be fit to serve in his current capacity as the Benton County Sheriff. However, it is important to note, for the sake of public understanding, that Sheriff Hatcher is an independently elected County official and can only be removed from his office by a vote of the people.
That said, our office has followed the necessary procedures to file reports and request additional investigation into Sheriff Hatcher’s actions when said issues have been brought to our attention.
In an unfortunate addition, the COVID-19 pandemic struck our community just as your calls for action were received by our office earlier this year. Due to restrictions imposed by the Governor’s Office and changes to the Open Public Meetings Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Board was prohibited from discussing any matters of County business that were not considered “necessary and routine” directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please rest assured that we are doing what we can to support you in your endeavor to recall Sheriff Jerry Hatcher. We welcome any dialogue you wish to have with us, or the County Administration, to determine how we can best support you in your efforts.
Benton County Board of Commissioners