Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I’ve lived in Washington state my whole life — it’s where I chose to raise my family — and share your concern about crime in our communities. I want to ensure people are safe in their homes and neighborhoods.

In past years, we’ve worked diligently to address the increase in crime that spiked as we came out of the pandemic. Thankfully, most cities and states have seen violent crime rates plummet. For some time, Seattle remained a stubborn outlier, but data from recent months shows the homicide rate declining steadily, mirroring the national downtrend. We are heading in the right direction but still have work left ahead of us.

If we continue balanced investments in law enforcement recruitment and support the social services that can interrupt the cycle of crime, we will continue to see progress as we work to solve the problems that emerged during the pandemic and build a safer Washington.

Over the last two years, we’ve invested over a million dollars to ease law enforcement staffing shortages. On top of that, the Legislature funded new Criminal Justice Training Commission Regional Training Academies (RTAs). With two of these RTAs now open, Washington is training more officers than at any time in its history. Having regional academies in addition to our main Burien campus allows for a more diverse recruiting pool, such as mothers with small children who may be reluctant to join if it means moving across the state without their children.

We also passed a suite of bills aimed at expediting law enforcement recruitment, offering officers better work-life flexibility to incentivize retention, and diversifying our law enforcement agencies so police officers are representative of the neighborhoods they serve.

You know your community best, and the core of my job is to listen to your concerns and work to represent your interests in Olympia. That’s why, when an initiative to the Legislature was put forward to restore officers’ ability to stop vehicles if there is suspicion of criminal activity, I voted in favor.

We must also take incidents of excessive police force seriously. Commonsense measures have been passed to reform our criminal justice system and prevent some of the most tragic incidents we’ve seen, such as Manny Ellis’ death in 2020. Last session, I was proud to vote for Senate Bill 6009 to ban hog-tying, a dangerous practice that can be replaced with newer, safer alternatives. I have worked hard to make the disciplinary system more effective and will continue to look for opportunities to do so.

By easing the law enforcement staff shortage, making targeted investments where support is needed, and passing bills to increase trust and cooperation between peace officers and their communities, we are making Washington safer.