Letters to the Editor

Officer regrets mayor’s “attack”

I write this letter in response to statements made about me by Mayor Jim Slowik in the June 8 edition of the Whidbey News-Times.

While unfortunately not surprised by his statements, I am dismayed that Mayor Slowik, apparently because I disagree with his actions while mayor of our city and do not support his candidacy, feels the need to wage a personal attack upon me.

In my opinion, he makes a hasty and misplaced assumption that my disagreement is because of an imagined grudge he feels I hold against him. He is quoted as saying that (the police officers who do not support his candidacy) have “the right to free speech,” yet he proceeds to offer up an apparent ill thought-out reason why I do not support him; that I have a personal grudge against him because a co-worker of mine attended the FBI National Academy (FBINA).

He said that we (those same officers) are “great cops” and he “couldn’t respect anyone more,” yet he doesn’t hesitate to follow that statement by flinging mud and making a meritless accusation to attempt to discredit me, perhaps to deflect attention away from him and the many issues at hand.

I do not know where Mayor Slowik obtained his information, but he is misinformed. To set the record straight, I was nominated to the FBINA under two previous chiefs of police and two mayors, and was accepted in 2003, at the rank of sergeant -- a fact of which I am proud.  Unfortunately, I declined to attend the academy due to personal, family reasons. That was my decision and I stand by it, and my co-worker’s recent attendance to the FBINA causes no “threat to my career,” as Mayor Slowik has stated.

I feel I should not have to repeat this, but allow me to do so: I do not begrudge in any way John Dyer’s request to attend the FBINA and his subsequent acceptance. It is a valuable training process and one which can only benefit the Police Department, the City of Oak Harbor and its citizens, in the enhancement of our law enforcement mission. I congratulate John on his successful completion. To publicly say that I hold a grudge for another officer’s accomplishment is an insult.

I believe that Mayor Slowik’s readiness to make such a statement about me on pure speculation and without corroboration, shows him to be uninformed, and demonstrates his willingness to make strong and inflammatory statements without verification.

In closing, I can only say that I am proud of my over 35 years with the Oak Harbor Police Department and my service to this community. My focus has been, and will continue to be, on public service to the citizens of Oak Harbor. I would say to Mayor Slowik that I feel in no way threatened, and that he should accept that fact that there are those who have the right to endorse whomever they choose for political office without fear they will be personally attacked for expressing that choice.

Tim Sterkel
Oak Harbor

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