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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
During the 2021 legislative session, I spoke out against – and voted against – a slew of bills brought forward by the activist Defund the Police movement. It was obvious at the time that these bills were vague, poorly written, and would have disastrous impacts on our local communities.
I had hoped that the other side would take our amendments in committee or on the House floor, or work in a good-faith, bipartisan fashion to address the concerns of larger, urban areas without hampering our local police, emergency medical services personnel, and other first responders.
That wasn't the case. The majority party in Olympia passed these bills with little to no Republican support and, as a result, the pendulum against law enforcement in this state has swung to a dangerous degree.
Because many of these bill went into effect this week, the media has finally taken notice. Here are just a few recent headlines. You can click each one to read the full story:
- Pullman police chief says new Washington laws restricting law enforcement threatens public safety (KQQQ Radio)
- Police say it is hands off for some mental health cases after use-of-force law change (KUOW)
- Washington state police reforms fail the mentally ill (SHIFT)
- Who can respond? New use-of-force law changes police work in Moses Lake; police chief warns of limitations (Columbia Basin Herald)
- Snohomish County Sheriff: New laws for policing could 'put the community at danger' (MyNorthwest)
- Yakima Valley law enforcement critical of police reform measures set to go into effect (Yakima Herald-Republic)
- Local law enforcement have concerns over new police reform laws going into effect (Q-13)
- As police adjust to reforms, crisis responders feel deserted (The Everett Herald)
- Idaho deputies unable to track down suspect who crossed into Washington, citing new policing laws (KHQ TV)
Our state saw a nearly 47% increase in murders in 2020. We continue to be LAST IN THE NATION for law enforcement per capita at 1.45 officers per 1,000 population. Compare that with Washington, D.C. which is first in the nation at 5.99 officers, California at 21st with 2.35 officers, and Oregon next to last with 1.53 officers.
I believe there is always room for improvement. While we absolutely need to hold bad apples accountable, the vast majority of law enforcement conduct their day-to-day business of protecting our communities with honor, dignity, and heroism. They put their lives on the line each and every day. Let's hold them accountable to a standard; but let's make sure that standard is not an impossible one. And let's not tie their hands in the name of political correctness and urban activism.
I urge citizens to get involved in this issue. Please write your local elected officials and local media. We need your help to push back against the Defund the Police movement in order to help keep our communities, families, and children safe.
To learn more about this issue, check out our website:
Why Democrats' police-reform bills have made communities less safe
We will continue to update this site with new information, media stories, op-eds, editorials, interviews, and more.
Thank you for reading my update and for staying involved in your state government. If I can be of assistance, please don't hesitate to contact my office. We're here to serve you.
426B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7844 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000