A message from the sheriff

A message from the sheriff

Hello, Sheriff Pat Garrett here. I want to take this opportunity to share several updates with you. In August, we began working with community leaders to create a Sheriff’s Office / Latino Advisory Commission. The Commission has 11 members from our community and our Sheriff’s Office. The Commission’s work will deepen our partnerships, increase trust and mutual understanding, and focus on equity in the work we do daily. We just had our first meeting and we look forward to this exciting opportunity to work more closely with our Latino community and other historically marginalized community members to serve our diverse county best.

Additionally, to ensure that all Washington County Sheriff’s Office policies, procedures, training, evaluation, and accountability related to the use of force align with best practices, the Sheriff’s Office has contracted with Polis Solutions. Polis Solutions is a national research and training company that develops and implements customized, evidence-based programs for police, criminal justice, and other government and private organizations to improve public trust and safety. Polis Solutions’ diverse team integrates experience and expertise in policing, training and education, social science, technology development, and organizational leadership and reform. Polis is nationally known for its innovative programs in de-escalation, community trust-building, use of force, and officer decision-making.

Our decision to invite nationally recognized experts to review our use of force training and policy supports our vision of enhancing public safety by fostering a culture of professionalism, compassion, and trust within our Sheriff’s Office team and the communities we serve. This project aligns with our community’s interest regarding police use of force and our commitment to being a learning organization focused on continuous improvement. Over the next six months, Polis Solutions will interview key Sheriff’s Office stakeholders and a diverse range of community members, visit our facilities, review policies and procedures, and analyze the use of force data. In March 2021, Polis Solutions will present a final report with its findings and recommendations. The report will be made available to the public. Finally, Polis Solutions also invites direct inquiries, comments, and questions about this project via email at info@polis-solutions.com.

Lastly, the County is hosting several online community listening sessions. There are three more opportunities to participate in these conversations with Commissioners this November, focused on providing information about the County’s budgeting process and service priorities. These sessions are the first in a series of steps intended to inform the Board and other County leaders as they assess the budgeting process, including the community’s role.

On behalf of the entire Sheriff’s Office, it is an honor to serve everyone in Washington County. My sincere thanks to our community for standing by public safety. And to the women and men of the Sheriff’s Office, your work is noble and imperative to keep our community safe during what continues to be challenging times. Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Pat Garrett, Sheriff