Share story

SNOHOMISH County Sheriff Ty Trenary is on the fall ballot in a special election to determine who will serve the last year of his predecessor’s term.

Trenary should be retained with the same enthusiasm that won him the appointment in July 2013. He was the unanimous choice of the Snohomish County Council to replace John Lovick, who resigned to be county executive.

Trenary has 23 years in the sheriff’s office, and his range of service and leadership roles are reflected in a smooth transition. His department draws praise for its tireless performance after the Oso landslide this past spring.

The sheriff’s office serves unincorporated Snohomish County, and cities that contract for police service. Trenary was police chief for Stanwood from 2008 to 2012.

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Law enforcement has its challenges in the busy county. Drug use — in particular heroin — is rising, and Trenary wants his deputies equipped and trained to help in overdose emergencies as circumstances allow.

The county has persistent problems with the management and operation of the jail in recent years, including a string of fatalities. Staffing, jail population, training and budgets are contributing issues. Trenary has the capacity to turn things around, and the jail has been through three outside audits for help.

The sheriff is opposed in this election by Detective Sgt. James Upton, who has a dozen years in the department. He supervises officers investigating property crimes in the South Precinct.

He argues for a business model for the department with higher education standards for management and command staff. He wants better financial management skills in the office.

Upton has a proposal, while Trenary has a record of promotions and service across the professional duties in the office. News accounts of Trenary’s swearing-in ceremonies a year ago included high praise from local chiefs of police.

His unanimous appointment by the Snohomish County Council is a strong endorsement. Voters have good reasons to retain Trenary in November’s special election.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.