It would appear that San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou has been presented with a very fortunate Christmas gift – a clear and early warning on the serious threat to his department embodied in the form of deputy Felix Menjivar.
After reading all the published reports on the Christmas Eve hayride incident in Friday Harbor, one can’t help but be alarmed that one of the the first instincts of one of our sworn officers of the law when confronted with a well-illuminated float full of Christmas carolers and children, but lacking a working taillight, is to go for his gun. There is absolutely no excuse for this loss of personal control, especially in a supposedly well-trained police officer.
But for the swift actions of a more mature fellow deputy on the scene, this could have exploded into a major tragedy. Deputy Menjivar nearly succeeded in placing the San Juan Islands on the national map for all the wrong reasons.
Our peaceful island community is well-served by the rest of the Sheriff’s Office employees and I have had nothing but the best of relationships with all those I’ve come in contact with. Their professionalism and courteous demeanor would make me proud to call any of them a friend.
Sadly, Deputy Menjivar cannot be called one of these professionals. His lack of self control and dangerous, hot-headed behavior in public has put a stain on the reputation of this otherwise excellent department. Our community’s citizens are now proclaiming their lack of trust not only in Mr. Menjivar, but the department as a whole due to his close association with them. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to reclaim.
Sheriff Nou is a good and honorable man whose personal and professional reputation is now at risk because of one “rogue cop”. In this era of “zero tolerance” over violence, bullying, and gun crimes, the sheriff should take full and immediate advantage of this warning by removing Mr. Menjivar from his post before the unthinkable happens.