Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) has received the Gene Cotton Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).

“Sen. Mullet showed tremendous leadership during the Washington legislative session,” Steven Strachan, WASPC executive director, said. “He worked tirelessly to improve laws that help balance the need for public safety and ensure law enforcement is accountable to the community.”

The Gene Cotton Award is bestowed infrequently, 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, WASPC announced. The award is named after a former Clark County Sheriff and WASPC executive director and is given only to public officials who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in supporting law enforcement public policies.

“It’s an honor to receive such an award, and all the more so when you realize how few people are accorded it,” Mullet said. “In the past two legislative sessions, we’ve passed laws to ensure adequate oversight and accountability while making sure law enforcement has the tools and latitude to do its job. 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 if you’ve passed a bill and it does something other than what you intended, you have to swallow your ego and come back and fix it. It’s ok to make a mistake, but what’s really important is that you fix that mistake. And nowhere is that more important than when it comes to public safety.”

WASPC’s more than 900 members include the state’s 39 elected county sheriffs, 240 police chiefs, the Washington State Patrol, the Washington Department of Corrections, and representatives of Tribal and federal agencies.