Eye in the sky


Our Sheriff’s department has an amazing set of “tools” to help keep us safe – and help us when we need it most. In a previous blog I introduced you to their swiftwater team and Councilmember Dave Morell did a great profile of the marine services patrol unit:




I recently had the great opportunity to take a flight on a beautiful sunny day with Deputies Robert Malloy and Emily Holznagel of the Sheriff’s aviation team to learn more about what they do from their perch in the sky.

Come take a ride via this video:

Here are a few other interesting facts about our aviation team:

  • They have two Cessna 206 aircraft, which are very cost-effective and allow a long time on station – critical for their search and rescue and disaster response missions. Pierce County taxpayers did not pay directly for either plane.  The one in the video came via a drug seizure and the other came from a Port security grant.
  • Our team has partnerships with King and Snohomish Counties’ aviation units. If we need helicopter support, it comes from King County.  Our planes helped out during the deadly Oso landslide in Snohomish County.
  • Our deputies were up on a routine patrol when the Horizon Air Q400 aircraft was stolen from SeaTac in 2018. Our Cessna couldn’t pursue the faster Q400 with “lights & sirens” – we left that to the Air Forces F-16s (no, we do not have “lights and sirens” on our Sheriff’s planes!).  Our team did provide key information about the location of the crash scene and helped coordinate the emergency response to Ketron Island.

Whether at Thun Field in Puyallup or the Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor, our airports play an important role not only in keeping our residents safe but in contributing to the economic well-being and vitality of our region.

My thanks to Anne-marie Marshal-Dody in Planning and Public Works, Deputies Malloy and Holznagel, as well as the PCTV video team, for their help in giving you a peek into the importance of Pierce County’s airports.

Switching gears, my congratulations to Judge Elizabeth Martin and the entire Superior Court team, care providers and volunteers as they celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Felony Drug Court yesterday!

Judge Elizabeth Martin was beaming throughout the celebration
I was honored to share my congratulations on the amazing Drug Court milestone

It was inspiring to hear how the Drug Court has literally transformed lives of nearly 2000 people who came to the court broken and in need of care and healing.  In return, they receive smart justice and compassionate justice!

The commitment and dedication of everyone who has been involved was heartwarming as several former judges, court officials and graduates returned to celebrate the milestone.

Superior Court Judge Edmund Murphy (former Pierce County DPA) and former DAC attorney, Mike McNerthney, were instrumental in the creation of Drug Court
John Harris (center in black shirt), a Drug Court graduate, said thank you in song with his Greater Works gospel choir. They were semi-finalists on “America’s Got Talent!”

One final note – be on the lookout for a large white envelope in your home mailbox, soon.  The 2020 PEBB registration materials will be arriving for those of you who will be covered by that plan next year.

I already filled mine out and turned it in to Risk Management.  Our Benefits team has done a very good job in putting the packets together – thanks, especially, to Jen Watts and Jessie Matsch!

Pro-tip:  be sure and closely follow the instructions provided by our Pierce County team – it will save you time and confusion.  But, if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to PCBenefits@piercecountywa.gov for assistance.

Stay safe this blustery weekend,