Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza (right) signs a certificate after being sworn in by Judge Richard Brosey (left) during a ceremony in Chehalis on Dec. 30.
Newly-elected Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza was sworn in on Dec. 30 and said he hopes to see increasing progress in how his office tackles drug crimes and addresses mental health issues.
Succeeding one-term sheriff Steve Mansfield, who had declined to seek re-election, Snaza, who received 78 percent of voter support in November, said he hopes to build upon many of the programs implemented by Mansfield, stating the former sheriff had done an "outstanding" job while in office.
"He has been a role model for what the expectations of a sheriff should be," said Snaza who, prior to being elected, had served as under sheriff for the county. "He has done such an outstanding job that we will continue to build on what he's done."
Snaza said, as far as areas where he would like to begin building, it will be his administration's goal "to take a stand on drugs in the communities," and finds ways to reduce the number of repeat offenders returning to the jail system through drug use.
Formerly the head of the Lewis County Drug Task Force, Snaza said he hopes to continue coordinating the efforts of local law enforcement agencies to track down and arrest drug offenders, adding his efforts will not stop at drug interdiction.
"It's also working with mental health, working with other agencies," he said of programs such as Drug Court and Cascade Mental Health, who seek to address the causes of criminal behavior to help reduce the number of repeat offenders.
Snaza said he will also focus on community involvement and education, stating he hopes programs at local schools and within Neighborhood Watch communities will continue to grow.
"We've got a pretty good working relationship with those schools," he said of the Sheriff's Office, stating he will encourage area residents to become involved in Adopt-a-School programs to help be involved in preventing drug use and access among students.
Also on the to-do list, but a little further in the future, are programs such as a regional SWAT team, which Snaza said is something he will be working with other agencies to plan and organize.
In the mean time, Snaza said residents can expect to encounter some new administrative staff and patrol deputies within his office as new hires are brought on board.
"Over the next several months you're going to see a lot of new faces out and about," he said, adding he is looking forward to fulfilling his new position as Sheriff.
"I'm excited to be the Sheriff," he said. "I want to work hard at being a servant of Lewis County."