A Belated But Correct Decision on Centralia Officer’s Employment


Recently, a story appeared in The Chronicle about an officer in Centralia, Phil Reynolds, who was terminated for the second time for bad behavior. 

In the first case, which included some allegations of excessive use of force, the arbitrator concluded use of — or overuse of — the Taser was simply not enough and he was reinstated. I didn’t understand that then and still don’t.

It reminded me of an officer who was terminated during a World Trade Organization protest in Seattle some years ago. The officer physically assaulted a woman and the sheriff fired him.

The same Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC),  though not the same arbitrator as far as I know, required the sheriff to reinstate him — probably with back pay and all the rest.

Things like this make it hard to discipline egregious behavior, especially if PERC or the arbitrator don’t have any risk for their decision. Only the hiring authority does.

In the case of former officer Reynolds, there were many disturbing things in his behavior that stood out, not just actions or failures to act, but he had four Brady disclosures, which should have been disqualifying by themselves. 

Those are sustained complaints of dishonesty and must be disclosed to the attorneys by the prosecutor in cases where the officer is involved. Plus, it puts the prosecutor’s office in a pickle during a case where it’s only the officer’s word and suspect’s word to be presented.

It’s one thing to make a mistake, but to deliberately be dishonest repeatedly should be a serious and fatal flaw in their character.

But apparently not to the first PERC arbitrator, so here we are some years later going through another arbitration for bad behavior.

There are several other Centralia officers terminated pending arbitration for some of the same behaviors and it will be interesting to see how they rule on those cases.


We’re getting close to the end of the endless political advertisements and I for one will be glad it’s over. But for me, at the state and national level, I cannot support any Democrats anymore.  It’s not just inflation, or the cost of fuel. It goes much deeper than that.

I can’t remember a time when there was so much effort in sexualizing children. It seems every day there are stories about this in some school somewhere and it’s crazy. Thankfully, parents are more aware now and are getting active.

Abortion up to the birth of the baby as a right used to be called infanticide. Now it’s called a right and women’s health care. I still don’t know how killing a baby is women’s health care.

In the last couple of weeks, armed federal agents have allegedly invaded pro-life protesters’ homes when a simple knock at the door or phone call asking the “suspect” to come downtown would easily have sufficed.

While this egregious behavior — you know, praying out front of Planned Parenthood — goes on and is aggressively pursued, I can’t say they act with the same zeal in catching suspects defacing churches and pregnancy centers. Or rioters, looters and assorted criminal activity for that matter.

Defund the police movements, letting thugs out after violent crimes without bail, in some cases several times, and letting crime get out of control with catchy names claiming to make the places safer.

That’s a crock — some people need to be in jail and that will make us safer.

In the meantime, what they are concerned about is providing graphic materials to kids and letting them know they can choose to be a boy or a girl. And by the way, your mom and dad don’t have to know what we’re discussing.

But if you need a Tylenol for a headache, we have to call parents and get permission for that.


John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis and can be contacted at musingsonthemiddlefork@gmail.com.