Voters in Walla Walla County have some highly qualified and capable candidates to choose from when they elect a new Sheriff on November 6th.  We agree with the Walla Walla Union Bulletin when they said the real winners in this race are the people of Walla Walla County.  Either candidate would serve the people of Walla Walla County well.

Mark Crider is new to the Walla Walla Valley.  After graduating from high school in Ontario, Ohio, Crider went on to study agriculture at Ohio State University. He enlisted in the US Navy and served for ten years.  In 1996, Crider graduated from the FBI Training Academy and worked for the Bureau for 22 years.  Among his roles within the FBI, Crider served as a law enforcement instructor and FBI Special Agent-In-Charge.  He moved to Walla Walla County in March, when Sheriff John Turner appointed him to serve as his Undersheriff.

Matthew Stroe
Matt Stroe is running for Walla Walla County Sheriff

Matthew Stroe is a Walla Walla native. He graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1996 and went on to study criminal justice at Walla Walla Community College.  Stroe graduated with a Bachelors degree from Western Washington University in 2002.  He has worked as a para-educator to special needs students, a detention officer for the Walla Walla County Juvenile Justice Center, a deputy and crime analyst technician (sex offender program) for the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office and currently serves as the Director of Security for Whitman College. Stroe grew up in a law enforcement household. His father, Mike Stroe, is a thirty year veteran of the Walla Walla Police Department.

Crider and Stroe both possess highly qualified resumes.  They both have the endorsement of scores of law enforcement officials with hundreds of years of combined experience. In the primary election, we endorsed Mark Crider.  Over the course of the campaign, we have watched and listened for what sets the two candidates apart.  Regardless of what voters decide, Walla Walla County will be well served.  But, here’s why we are now endorsing Matt Stroe for Walla Walla’s next Sheriff.

Stroe is a native of Walla Walla County who understands the challenges that our community faces.  He has decades of experience with people that live and work here.  He earned our endorsement when he announced at the Candidate Forum on October 11th, that he believed the sheriff’s department should look like the community that it serves.  Currently the twenty-four person force has only two women, even though women make up nearly half of the population in Walla Walla County.

We were disappointed that Crider’s response to the issue was to assert that “there are no funds in the budget” to recruit a force that looks like the people it serves.  It’s unfair to expect women, people of color, and LGBTQ voters to support a candidate that cannot commit to serving all of them, including in department recruitment. Stroe, without hesitation, said he believed the force should “absolutely look like the community it serves.”  This is the Walla Walla way, and proves that Stroe has his finger on the pulse of our community.

As Sheriff, Stroe will focus on using his expertise to secure our local schools and work with community health experts to address mental health and substance abuse issues.  He has pledged to be fully transparent in his decisions and plans to work to strengthen the department.  We’re with Matt, because as Sheriff he will be fighting for ALL of us.

You can find more about Matt Stroe’s campaign on Facebook or on his website.


  1. Some of your reasoning seems to be based on a lack of understanding of the hiring process of employees at the sheriffs office. If more diversity is wanted recruitment is needed of those segments of the population under represented. Recruitment costs money. Those interested must follow the legal process set out, including successful completion of testing, prior to having names added to the Civil Service lists used for hiring.

  2. It strikes me there are only three ways Mr. Stroe can fulfill his promise:
    1. Fire nearly half the force and recruit only women to replace the fired officers;
    2. Nearly double the force and recruit only women to the new positions.
    3. Or, more gradually, as current male officers retire or leave for greener pastures, recruit only women to fill their positions until the force is more “equitable.”
    Option 1 is probably illegal A) since there are worker protections in place to prevent firings without just cause, and possession of dangling bits is not a just cause, and B) nor is it legal to impose a flat prohibition on the hiring of male officers.
    Option 2 is a budget blow-out and illegal.
    Option 3 is illegal.
    Because it’s simply illegal to say that a government agency will refuse to hire men, regardless of qualifications, because it prefers only females for its jobs for the foreseeable future.
    As a female, please don’t think you’re doing me or other women any favors by hiring people who “look like me.” Seriously, I don’t want to be protected by some woman in her 60s with bad knees and a seriously gym-averse body shape, just because she “looks like me.”
    Hire the best person for the job. Preferably with enough upper body strength to be able to pull me from a car if needed, and enough stamina to chase an escaping felon long enough to catch him (or her).
    Sounds to me Mr. Stroe has spent too much time in the Whitman College bubble.


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