Sheriff’s deputies guard county meeting

Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?

If you were at Tuesday’s Clark County council meeting, you were. At the request of Acting County Manager Mark McCauley, two armed Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies were standing guard over the meeting—to signal that “reasonable behavior be exhibited.”

“I try to evaluate the sensitivity of the material that will be discussed at a hearing,” McCauley said. “If it appears as though there’s going to be a lot of strong opinion on a particular matter, I think I would be remiss if I didn’t have sheriff’s deputies there.”

There certainly were a lot of strong opinions in the room on both sides of the debate, which centered around repealing the 2 percent tax cut the previous Clark County council approved last month. The last couple of meetings have, at times, felt more like a rally than a county meeting, as protesters on both sides have shouted and grumbled their way through hearings.

This isn’t the first time sheriff’s deputies have overseen a county council meeting. I last saw them there about a year ago, when the council was still debating whether to put “In God We Trust” in the hearing room chambers.

“There’re some very passionate people out there who believe very strongly in certain causes,” McCauley said.

But let’s be real. It’s Council Chair Marc Boldt’s job to keep people behaving reasonably, not armed sheriff’s deputies. Their presence was about keeping people safe, and it’s a strange day indeed when public safety at a county council meeting comes into question.

Kaitlin Gillespie

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the education reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at or 360-735-4517.

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