Police react as professionals | Editorial

Island County residents should be proud of the police men and women who serve them. Oak Harbor went through a day of trauma Monday, Oct. 3, when a man wielding a knife allegedly went to different houses to kill both his grandfathers, then fled the scene in a stolen car.

With a killer on the loose, the Oak Harbor Police Department, Island County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office, and Skagit County deputies worked together to control crime scenes, search for the killer, and stay in communication thanks to the ICOM crew that kept information flowing.

While police locked down La Conner because of rumors the killer might be headed there to do harm to other relatives, others advised entire neighborhoods in Oak Harbor to keep their doors locked and eyes opened. The break came at 5 p.m. when a citizen reported seeing a man running near a wooded area off N. Oak Harbor Road.

Oak Harbor police quickly descended on the site and took down the suspect, Joshua Lambert, in the middle of Oak Harbor Street. His arrest went by the book. Witnesses weren’t shocked, rather they were amazed the arrest of a suspected double-murderer was made so professionally and without violence.

The Island County Prosecutor’ Office was involved with the entire process, and when Lambert was arraigned the next day Prosecutor Greg Banks was ready to ask that the judge grant no bail, based on a new state law allowing that particularly violent suspects be held without bail. Judge Vicki Churchill granted the request, giving peace of mind to a entire community that Lambert won’t soon be back on the streets -- if ever.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown sent out a news release saying, “I sincerely hope the news media report on how professionally this incident was handled from start to finish. I am extremely proud of the resilience and professionalism demonstrated by the Island County Sheriff’s personnel, as well as the other agencies involved.”

What the sheriff did not say was that most of the agencies involved, including his own department, have lost personnel in recent years due to budget cuts. That makes the effort all the more amazing. The community will surely echo the sheriff when he says, “Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to all personnel from agencies involved in this horrific event. Without their assistance we would not have been able to apprehend a dangerous criminal.”


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