Seeing double: Sheriffs elected in neighboring counties are identical twins

SEATTLE -- The Nov. 4 election made history in Washington state -- identical twins became the sheriffs in Thurston and Lewis counties.

“It`s pretty awesome,” said Rob Snaza, newly elected sheriff of Lewis County. “It`s a humbling experience for us.”

Rob’s brother John was also just re-elected as sheriff of neighboring Thurston County.

“We grew up in Thurston and our parents grew up in Lewis,” said John. “And we get to be part of both communities, and just embrace it and show everybody what we can do, and how much we really care.”

John will remind you that he was born first, by 14 minutes. He was also the family’s first sheriff, elected to the job four years ago. But it was Rob who initially pursued a career in law enforcement more than 20 years ago, until one day he let his twin ride along on patrol.

“I had the time of my life and I got hooked,” said John.

Soon, they were patrolling together, in a small police department in Lewis County and getting a lot of strange looks from people, especially during DUI stops.

John said, “It would probably throw some people off because they would look at me, look at him, look at me, and probably start to judge their own sobriety.”

For the past several years, their lives have mirrored each other in more ways than one. They both have two daughters, and they have moved up the ladders in their respective departments in Lewis and Thurston counties. Now, they will lead those departments.

“It`s pretty surreal,” said Rob. “It still it hasn`t really settled in.”

The Snazas give a lot of credit to the former sheriffs they’ve worked under over the years, and other leaders in law enforcement. They admit it can be lonely at the top but these identical twins who now oversee two counties say they plan to lean on each other.

“The one thing we have together is the ability to share our ideas, our stories, our concerns,” said Rob.

John added, “How cool it is to have an opportunity to work side by side with your own brother to serve both counties that we grew up in?"