Snohomish County Sheriff silent on recall petition

VIDEO: Judge rules that recall petition against Snohomish Co. sheriff can proceed

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — A judge ruled late last week that a petition to recall Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney can proceed.

Fortney had declared that he would not enforce Gov. Jay Inslee’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.

But the only comments from the sheriff have been on social media.

Content Continues Below

Fortney's wife and attorney said he would talk about this recall petition Monday, but he never called back.

However, citizens on both sides did want to talk.

"I just think personally the governor is overreaching," said Will Pollock, of Everett. "I kind of agree with the county sheriff."

There is no shortage of opinions on Snohomish County's controversial sheriff and his refusal to enforce the governor's emergency COVID-19 order.

"I mean you look at the city of Seattle," said Todd Rollins, of Granite Falls. "They're not enforcing immigration. They're not enforcing illegal drugs."

"I'd rather for it to be enforced," said Carolyn Jackson, of Everett, as she straightened her face mask, "because for my safety and my health and my family and myself. It's best, you know, that we keep it enforced."

The coronavirus has hit Snohomish County especially hard, second only to King County in the number of cases and deaths.

But in late April, Fortney said he would not direct his deputies to cite anyone who violates the governor’s order that has kept much of the state shut down for weeks.

"We are not going around and arrest residents of Snohomish County for driving in their cars, being out or checking papers," Fortney said April 22.

Within a day, Lori Shavlik, a Bothell resident, drafted a petition to recall Fortney. On Friday, a Cowlitz County judge said it could go forward.

"He was elected to uphold the law, OK." Shavlik said. "He's not there to create constitutional legislation. He's not there to advocate any sides or decide anything."

The only reaction from the sheriff so far has been on social media.

"Although I did not ask for this fight," he wrote, "I will not shrink from it."

If enough signatures are gathered, the recall could be on the November ballot.

But this isn't the only effort to remove Fortney. A group of lawyers filed their own recall petition last Thursday.

Shavlik’s petition is the only one so far that a judge has approved.