Dear friends and neighbors:

When I’m making decisions on legislation, I ask myself what makes sense for our district and our state and then I vote accordingly. The last thing on my mind is an award. But that doesn’t make it any less rewarding when a group of top professionals later calls you out for recognition.

That happened late last month when the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) presented me with its highest honor — the Gene Cotton Award, named after a former Clark County Sheriff and WASPC executive director.

WASPC officials say the award “is reserved for public officials whose public service careers have been dedicated to the creation of outstanding public safety policy in Washington State and whose achievements and dedication are commonly recognized throughout Washington State’s criminal justice community.” The award is also bestowed infrequently, so I don’t take it lightly or any less seriously than the important public safety issues the Legislature considered in recent years.

In the past two legislative sessions, my colleagues and I have passed laws to ensure adequate oversight while making sure law enforcement has the tools and latitude to do its job. We’ve passed laws to make things better, and we’ve followed up with additional laws to clarify and improve those laws because it’s critical that we get it right. One of the challenges we have is that it’s human nature to not want to admit when you’re  wrong, but you have to swallow your ego sometimes if you realize you’ve passed a bill that has unintended consequences. When you pass a bill and see it does something other than what you intended, you have to come back and fix it.

Perhaps nowhere is this more important than when it involves public safety. If we have to revisit something we’re recently passed, that’s ok, because above all we need to make sure we strike the right balance to ensure crime prevention while making sure law enforcement is accountable to the community.

Take care and stay safe,