Recently, Ed Troyer announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Pierce County.
Ed is a kind, sweet man who has donated a great deal of his life to many community concerns. In doing so, Ed has made our world a better place. I laud Ed for his efforts and accomplishments in these areas. I have always liked Ed Troyer, but I cannot vote for Ed Troyer.
My long friendship with Ed makes writing today’s column painful. From November 2010 to date, I have written over 500 columns. Never has the truth been as painful to write about as it is today.
It will be no surprise if sharing my opinion about Ed Troyer’s candidacy costs me my friendship with Ed and several of our mutual friends. I will not blame them.
I worked with Ed Troyer at the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for over 20 years. We have known each other for 30 years. When I first started my law enforcement career, Ed was one of my graveyard partners.
I worked eight years, from 1998 to 2005, for Ed as a segment host on a TV program he ran called The Sheriff’s Report.
All of our Pierce County communities, including small cities with their own police departments, depend on our Sheriff’s Department for certain services. Citizens expect the Sheriff’s Department to perform it’s duties and functions in an organized and high-caliber level to support its mission to Protect and Serve.
Imagine Ed invited me to coffee to inform me he was thinking of running for Sheriff. He then asks for my frank opinion. I would share the following tough talk with Ed. I would try to be honest and direct, but kind.
While I have always liked Ed as a person, I believe his becoming Sheriff is both good and bad.
It is a good idea for Ed personally because he will have the chance to enjoy more fame, power, and money, including a massive boost to his retirement plan.
It is a bad idea for the Sheriff Department’s commissioned deputies, administrators, and the Pierce County Jail correction officers. More importantly, Ed Troyer for Sheriff is a bad idea for the citizens of Pierce County.
The message contained in Ed’s announcement reads, “You know me. You trust me. I want to continue that relationship.”
That is a clever political message. My problem is while it is true I know Ed, it is not true that I trust Ed to be able to fulfill the Sheriff’s responsibilities.
FAILURE TO RESPOND TO PHONE MESSAGES:
When I worked in court security, answering phones in the front office was one of my duties.
Ed Troyer was notorious for failing to return phone calls to me, members of the press, and Pierce County citizens.
I witnessed and personally experienced many occasions when a phone call came in for Ed at the Sheriff’s front desk in the County-City Building. We often offered to forward the caller to Ed’s voicemail. Frequently callers vehemently protested being sent to his voicemail. They would often complain that they had already left multiple messages without a single return call. Ed’s lack of responsible follow-through created unnecessary stress on the staff and was a disservice to the public.
It is over 13 years, so I have given up waiting for Ed to return some of my calls.
FAILURE TO KEEP PROMISES:
I asked Ed to order calling cards. I wanted to use the cards as a tool to support my position as a segment host for Ed’s TV program known as The Sheriff’s Report. Ed agreed cards were a good idea and promised to order them. Although I reminded him often, he let years pass without keeping his promise. To me, his failure to act and fulfill such an easy and tiny promise showed weak leadership skills.
FAILURE TO DELEGATE:
After many failures to keep his promise, I volunteered, “Hey, Ed, you are a busy guy. Give me the vendor information, and I will take care of ordering the cards.” He was adamant when he refused to give me the requested vendor contact information telling me that he would take care of it for sure. He just could not let go. More than a decade has passed with no cards.
Ed’s continued failure showed a substantial inability to delegate.
Decades ago, I predicted Ed would use his TV face and name recognition to leverage himself into becoming our Pierce County Sheriff.
It is preposterous for Ed Troyer to think he can run the Sheriff’s Department when he cannot manage himself.
FAILURE TO ACT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS:
Between the Sheriff’s Report and his service as the Public Information Officer (PIO), Ed has been in front of the camera for an impressive number of years. I sadly watched Ed make decisions in the field and take actions based on what would look best on camera, even when there was no camera around. His choices often support what makes him look good rather than selecting the best option to work a problem.
Ed Troyer has 35 years of service with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. That is an achievement. Yet, think about it. Years of service does not guarantee an individual is qualified to be Sheriff.
If another man worked 35 years for the Sheriff’s Department as a janitor, would the fact that he had 35 years of service qualify him to become Sheriff? In most cases, the answer would be no. Ed has more law enforcement experience than my hypothetical janitor example, but he is not even close to having enough experience either as a street cop or a department administrator to become Sheriff.
A new police officer faces three choices in a law enforcement career pathway.
Choice #1: Keep working as a street cop or field sergeant for the entire career.
Choice #2: Become an administrator such as lieutenant, captain, major, or chief. Most administrators deal with street cop issues.
Choice #3: After a bare minimum number of years serving as a street cop, devote the balance of a career to non-cop side jobs such as Dare Officer, Crime Stoppers Coordinator, or Public Information Officer. These are essential functions, but side jobs do not qualify an officer to become Sheriff.
Ed is known as Detective Ed Troyer. Years ago, the PIO position was upgraded from Deputy to Detective to help support the PIO position’s importance. I embrace that decision, but do not let the detective rank fool you. Detective Troyer has never worked as a detective.
FACE & NAME RECOGNITION FAILURE:
Ed has built a strong face and name recognition profile. I have spoken to many enthusiastic Ed Troyer fans. Through the magic of TV, Ed has been in everyone’s living room. Everyone likes Ed Troyer, just like he is family.
As incredible as his face and name recognition may be, recognition alone does not qualify Ed Troyer to become Sheriff.
If voters use face and name recognition as the sole basis to elect their Sheriff, voters are involving themselves in what I term a Mickey Mouse voting process.
Mickey Mouse! Did I say Mickey Mouse? Mickey reminds me of another way to make my point. If voting by face and name recognition is a valid way to decide an election than Mickey Mouse should become our next Pierce County Sheriff. Compared to Ed Troyer’s face and name recognition, Mickey Mouse wins hands down.
My Mickey Mouse example is downright ridiculous but no more ridiculous than voting any individual into any office based solely on face and name recognition.
I am retired, which gives me full freedom of speech. I can speak openly as a former insider without fear of career reprisal. That is not the case for anyone still actively employed with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
If your research and analysis determine I am wrong and Ed Troyer is the best of the four candidates for Sheriff of Pierce County, please vote Ed Troyer. Just make sure there are compelling reasons beyond face and name recognition to support your vote.
Think first and then vote.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.