Walla Walla County ends online property tax access by name


WALLA WALLA -- The recent murders of law enforcement officials in Colorado and Texas have prompted a change in how people can search for property tax information in Walla Walla County.

Treasurer Gordon Heimbigner said the ability for people to search for property information by name has been turned off on the county's TaxSifter Parcel Search engine. Searches still can be done online by using the address or tax parcel number.

"After consulting with the prosecuting attorney's office, we decided to turn off the search by name function," he said.

Benton County's website doesn't allow searches by name. Franklin County's does; there has been talk about changing that, but no plans are in place at this time, an official with the assessor's office said.

Heimbigner said he had received an email from Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Nolte relaying questions raised by county Undersheriff Edward Freyer.

Freyer said he specifically had not requested the search by name function be disabled, but simply wanted to visit the issue of how to protect officials, particularly law enforcement officers, from having their home addresses revealed through the county's TaxSifter system.

"You're looking at people who have been murdered in their homes," he said, referring to the murders in Colorado and Texas. "I just wanted to pose the question."

Heimbigner said people still can call or visit the Treasurer's or Assessor's Offices to request property information searches by name.

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