Message From Sheriff Pastor

From Sheriff Paul Pastor


Darkness & Light

Winter in Washington State is hard to miss. It gets darker earlier. It is colder and less forgiving.

It is no accident that the world’s great religions have holidays in December which combine thoughtful hope and anticipation. These holidays reflect the fact that days begin to get longer and more light comes into the world.

For Christianity, it is the coming of Christ, “The Light of the World.” In Judaism, there is Hanukkah, “the Feast of Lights.” In Islam and in Zoroastrianism and in Buddhism, there are winter holidays associated with meditation and light.
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In the midst of darkness, there seems to be a need to hope for and look for the coming of the light.

The end of this past year has many elements of darkness which hopefully will be lifted as we proceed into the New Year. We have been through an especially contentious election season filled with anger and fear and distrust. America has been wondering about who and what we are. Directly addressing these questions can only benefit us.

It is my hope that we can put away anger and fear and doubts and recognize that America is our common enterprise. America is unique and tremendously valuable to everyone and not just our own political or racial or generational or religious or income group. America matters to all of us.

Over this past year, I have also seen another much darker development in the number of law enforcement officers who were murdered. More died in armed assaults than in accidents or by any other cause. And many were lost in ambush-style attacks.

Throughout the country, in Dallas and in Des Moines, in Baton Rouge and in Palm Springs and Detroit and San Antonio and other locations, dozens of officers were murdered. This should be deeply disturbing to everyone.

I admit that I am disappointed that these losses have not provoked more of a sense of outrage in America and especially from federal officials.

But in the spirit of the season when darkness gives way to light, allow me to provide some assurance and some hope. Actually, I will not simply offer hope. I will offer a guarantee.

It is a guarantee that, as hard as things are and as hard as they may become, men and women who wear badges of local, state and federal law enforcement officers will continue to step forward and responsibly serve the public.

They will continue to do so despite criticism whether that criticism is deserved or undeserved.

They may not do things perfectly. They may sometimes make mistakes but they will correct them and then move forward. They will do so, despite the barriers and difficulties and the dangers they face.

I can make this guarantee because of traits which are ingrained in the minds and hearts of thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide. Their individual and collective sense of honor and obligation, of duty and sacrifice are what enables this guarantee.

Count on it. They will continue to put themselves at risk and risk the well-being of their families on your behalf.

They will do this because they know that what they do is more than a job. It is a calling. They have sworn an oath. Their calling and their oath give them an opportunity to make a moral difference in their communities.

So, know this. In dark times and as times improve, you can continue to look to the men and women who serve as law enforcement officers.

You can trust that their collective sense of duty and obligation and sacrifice will not be overcome by anger or fear or uncertainty.

These men and women and what they contribute every day reflect America’s deeper reality and our true strength.