Sheriff can’t pick and choose among laws to enforce

In his letter of Feb. 17, John Van Dalen praises Sheriff Adam Fortney for refusing, like some other law enforcement officials, “to use their office as a government enforcement tool as third world countries do.” A mini civics lesson is in order.

The U.S. is a democracy, where people elect legislators to enact laws. They elect judges to interpret laws. They elect executive officials to oversee enforcement of laws, as well as policies to protect the public, using experts such as public health professionals in a pandemic.

Law enforcement is rightly under the jurisdiction of the executive branch to enforce laws. Autocracy happens when law enforcement takes it upon itself to decide which laws are unconstitutional and which are not.

Adam Fortney doesn’t seem to understand the foundation of our democracy. In addition, he rehired deputies who were fired for egregious police misconduct. Join the effort to recall Fortney by going to and download a petition. Snohomish County deserves a sheriff who understands and upholds our democracy.

Nancy Dolan


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