Missoula County is facing challenges within the sheriff’s department, issues that reflect on accountability to the public and ethical failures of leadership. These are systemic failures that impact public safety and our pocketbooks. Leadership weakness reminds how important are the qualities of character and independence from political influence. Travis Wafstet is the candidate for sheriff who has the management experience and integrity to lead the department back to its public service roots.
In the past four years, the sheriff’s department has suffered under high numbers of discrimination complaints ($250K paid out in settlements); a $6 million budget increase; 40 percent of sworn deputies leaving/fired, leading to new hires with limited experience on the streets; a school resource officer leaving a gun in a bathroom; rehiring of a former deputy who is, again, the subject of an investigation; questions about appropriate use of public funds and personal time. Each of these issues is serious and cumulatively reflect a department in crisis.
Wafstet wasn’t picked by a political party, he stepped up as an Independent candidate because he has served the community for decades, loves the law, and wants the sheriff’s office to be the pride of the people it serves. Elect Wafstet.
Fredericka Thompson writes from Missoula.