McCroskey Commentary: The Thin Blue Line Is as Thin as It Has Ever Been


Growing up, my dad worked in the logging industry and it wasn’t uncommon in the winter due to snow, or in the summer due to fire, for him to be laid off. 

When that happened, he’d file for unemployment, but he also was expected to look for work and take it if offered. Unemployment wasn’t as easy to file for then and it wasn’t enough to feed and house a family of seven. So my dad took odd jobs of the not very glamorous type to help make ends meet. He would clean chicken barns and stack firewood. Sometimes he took me with him to help get it done.

My dad wasn’t a highly educated man. He was a veteran of the 82nd Airborne. He worked a lot of different jobs over the years and had a lot of pride. He told me it was his job to take care of his family and that meant doing what he needed to do the best he could.

So we cleaned chicken barns.

I know that thinking wasn’t rare back then.

Today, we find ourselves in a situation where unemployment has been incentivized due to COVID-19, making it more lucrative to stay home even if there is a job available. In some cases, in the words of the immortal Cousin Eddy of “Vacation” fame, they don’t even pretend to be holding out for a management position or any position — just the check.

Some state governors, all Republicans, told the federal government they didn’t want the extra money and that it’s time to get back to work.

The result in some of these states is the governors are being sued. And not surprising in this day and age, some judges found through legal gymnastics the state must pay the extra unemployment over asking residents to return to work.

Some in Congress want this to be made permanent, which is really nuts.

My dad never liked collecting unemployment or what he called “rocking chair,” and unemployment was always supposed to be temporary, a bridge to a job, not a lifestyle.

What has happened to that notion?


A while back, I wrote that the movement to defund the police would lead to officers leaving in mass numbers as they are unsupported and vilified by their elected officials and the media.  That has proven to be true.

In Minneapolis, they are losing officers at a high rate and having a tough time recruiting. Who’d want to be there after all that’s happened? It’s a profession painted with the broad brush unfairly bashing all the cops, not just bad behavior of an individual.

I’m not sure if you’ve been to Seattle recently, but the Emerald City is not what it used to be.  They have lost many officers and replacing them isn’t something they can do quickly.

The training requirements in Washington prior to the changes of the last session of the Legislature took about a year to get an officer out on the street. Now, I’m not sure how long it will take, but if they can’t recruit enough candidates for new academy classes, it will be much longer.

Now, after running off a number of their officers, including their chief, they want them back after spikes in shootings and crime. 

What a surprise.

The endless bashing of our cops, as well as failing to prosecute crimes by spineless prosecutors for riots, looting and in some cases assaults on them, is extremely demoralizing.  But beyond that, the doxxing of their names and other private information puts their families at risk and won’t help recruiting efforts. This is sadly considered acceptable in some circles.

In my view, it’s time to take sides if you want to have quality law enforcement. 

The thin blue line is as thin as I’ve ever seen it. 


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