After a candidate’s post, Sheriff’s Office suspends ridealongs

“Political games” or a violation of department policy? It depends on who you ask.

EVERETT — Want to tag along with a sheriff’s deputy to see what the front lines of law enforcement look like?

You’ll have to wait.

Earlier this month, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office suspended all ridealongs until further notice. Those already scheduled were to be canceled.

The reason? Politics.

On Oct. 1, Anna Rohrbough, a County Council candidate in the Nov. 5 general election, wrote about her experience riding with deputies in a Facebook post.

The Mukilteo Republican attached five photos: a baggie of methamphetamine, a greenbelt outside of a Home Depot, the inside of an abandoned dental clinic where people had been squatting, a tent with trash strewn about and a closeup of a pile of litter.

“These pictures speak loud,” Rohrbough wrote. “Don’t assume we went looking for these — it’s just there, in plain sight for all of us to see.”

She signed off: “We need to Elect ANNA!”

A little more than 27 hours later, sheriff’s Capt. Scott Parker sent an email to staff.

“Effective now and until further notice all ride-alongs are suspended,” he wrote. “If, for instance a ride has already been approved/scheduled, please make arrangements to cancel and explain they will be rescheduled for a later date.”

Under the directive, employees and volunteers can continue to participate.

Rohrbough also wrote about her experience in a paid political advertisement published on The Daily Herald’s website.

At a candidate forum on Oct. 18, Sheriff Ty Trenary indicated that Rohrbough crossed the line when she wrote about her experience on social media. He said it was a violation of the department’s policy.

“To invite somebody running for office and allow them to use that for political purposes is just not acceptable,” Trenary said.

The sheriff’s office policy manual does not appear to expressly prohibit people from posting photos or video taken during ridealongs on social media. Nor does it seem to address whether people can use ride-alongs for political purposes.

County code explains that employees may not engage in “political activity while on duty.”

Trenary’s opponent in the sheriff’s race, Sgt. Adam Fortney, helped organize the ridealong for Rohrbough, and drove her around for a portion of it.

Rohrbough and Fortney have openly supported each other’s campaigns. According to Public Disclosure Commission records, Rohrbough contributed $250 to Fortney’s campaign. Fortney gave Rohrbough $125.

Fortney has made the suspension of ridealongs a talking point on the campaign trail. In Facebook posts and at candidate forums, he connected the suspension to a lack of transparency from the sheriff’s office.

In the 23 years he’s been on the force, Fortney said he’s never seen a sheriff suspend ride-alongs.

Rohrbough conjectured in a Facebook post that Trenary was playing “political games.”

In an email, sheriff’s spokesperson Shari Ireton said ride-alongs will be suspended until after the election.

“We will review our existing policy and may make changes to the language so as to avoid similar issues in the future,” Ireton wrote.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

A speed camera facing west along 220th Street Southwest on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Traffic cameras, and tickets, come to Edmonds; Mukilteo could be next

New school zone cameras in Edmonds will begin operating in January. Mukilteo is considering enforcement cameras as well.

A person walks their dog along a flooded Old Snohomish Monroe Road on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Flood-resistant floors and sandbags are price of riverside life in Sultan

Flooding is a threat every year for 75,000 locals — and the long-term forecast suggests it’ll only get worse in the coming decades.

3 men charged in armed home invasion near Everett

Prosecutors allege the trio targeted other Asian American homes across Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties.

Team members prep for the upcoming ski season at Stevens Pass Resort in Skykomish, Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Any day now: All eyes on snow forecast at Stevens Pass

The ski area was a flurry of activity this week, as staff made sure a new lift and app were running smoothly.

Carjacking suspects tracked via GPS from Everett to Renton, then arrested

A King County resident reported two people stole their Mercedes at gunpoint. Hours later, its GPS tracker pinged in north Everett.

Man sentenced for racist threats to Edmonds animal control officer

Sean Wagner spewed slurs at an officer who seized his dogs. He was sentenced to jail for a hate crime.

A sign in front of the AquaSox front office references the upcoming Everett City Council vote on a sum of $1.1 million to give to outside contractors to help upgrade a new stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett AquaSox stadium upgrade gets $1.1M green light from city

City officials want to keep the team in Everett. But will they play in a new stadium downtown in 2027? Or an updated Funko Field?

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.