As Deputy Mayor, I helped implement reforms in Lakewood, including eliminating our role in Metro swat to increase accountability, reviewing our use of force and de-escalation policies, and ensuring funding for a mental health professional to be available on police calls for those in crisis. These are the kinds of common sense reforms I will continue to push for as your next County Council Member.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department does a lot of great work in our County. The calls to defund the police will not solve our communities’ problems. Removing officers from the streets will make our families less safe and is not the answer. The County Council should dedicate adequate resources to ensure that the Department can recruit and retain the high-quality deputies we need and can provide proper training to ensure both their safety and the safety of all community members, including our communities of color.
As your Council Member, I will work to:
- Implement reforms to rebuild trust in order to keep all members in our community safe
- Increase the number of deputies on the street to reduce response time and increase community coverage
- Provide the funding deputies need to receive excellent training, including all necessary training to instill a greater sense of community confidence in our Sheriff’s Department
While much progress has been made, Pierce County has a growing population of over 876,000 residents with over 96,000 calls for service annually. With 207 patrol deputies, our average emergency response time in unincorporated Pierce County is approximately 11.1 minutes.
Staffing studies recommend the addition of 21 patrol deputies and 2 proactive deputies for each detachment with a focus on community outreach and engagement.
I support a review, update, and adequate funding of our comprehensive strategic plan to address issues of staffing, re-organization, and training to ensure our deputies have all the tools necessary to effectively engage with our community.
We must ensure that the mission to protect life, property, and uphold individual rights is achieved for all.
The killing of George Floyd has brought to light once again that racism still exists within our institutions, including our justice system. We must work, collectively and collaboratively, to examine the entire criminal justice system in order to make necessary corrections to ensure that all members of our community, including our Black and Brown community members, are treated fairly. Our community must have greater confidence in our institutions, including but not limited to our elected public leaders, police departments, prosecutors, and courts, in order to achieve a greater sense of fairness and safety.
Elected leadership must lead the community to make real and lasting change. The specifics of the “what” and “how” must come through constructive and active dialog with all of our community members.
As I have done throughout my career, I am committed to working with our elected leaders and community members to have the hard conversations necessary to make constructive change happen. Pierce County leadership can and should be the convening authority for these hard conversations. Our entire community will only feel safe if we can address and correct the reality of institutional racism.
This may be the highest priority for public safety over the next few years. Our police officers can only effectively serve our community if they are trusted to treat all citizens with the dignity and fairness they deserve. Trust is very hard to earn and very easy to lose. As recent events have shown, we have work to do in our communities to ensure the public trust. I am dedicated to working hard so all of our public servants, including our elected leaders, deputies, prosecutors, and courts, are ALL worthy of that trust.