N. Kitsap letters

  • Saturday, May 22, 2021 1:30am
  • Opinion

Upset by chief

To the editor:

Kitsap ERACE Coalition was disappointed to learn that earlier this year Poulsbo’s Police Chief Ron Harding wrote to a state senator stating his opposition to police reform measures under consideration at that time. Specifically, he opposed the following bills:

• 1054 (since passed) which will ban chokeholds and vascular neck restraints, ban the use of military equipment by police, limit the use of tear gas, ban unnecessary vehicular pursuits by police, ban no-knock warrants and commission a review of the use of canines by police.

• 5051 (since passed) which will expand the background investigation requirements for law enforcement applicants; expand reasons law enforcement certifications may be revoked; require the reporting of all separation and disciplinary matters of certified officers to the CJTC; remove the confidentiality of complaints, investigations, and disciplinary actions for officers and require this information be maintained on a publicly searchable database.

• 1202 (not passed) which would have provided civil remedies for people injured as a result of police misconduct.

• 1203 (not passed) which would have required community oversight boards for police departments.

• 1267 (since passed) which will establish an Office of Independent Investigation to investigate deadly force incidents involving police.

• 1310 (since passed) which will define standards for use of force by police.

Harding said, both in PACT meetings and in his message to the senator, that he supports the need for police reform. However, he then says that passage of these bills would cause “a loss of protection for civilians, an escalation of high-level use of force by police, a huge reduction in law enforcement officers” among other things. Harding concluded that “the speed and scale of the legislation above will not bring about meaningful police reform, it will bring about disaster.”

Kitsap ERACE Coalition disagrees with Harding’s statement that these reforms are too much, too fast. We have witnessed over the past decades an alarming number of incidents of excessive and deadly use of force by police, in Kitsap County and across the country, resulting in the death and maiming of people. For us, accountable, common sense police reform cannot come fast enough, and we applaud our state Legislature for proposing and passing these and other laws to address the egregious misuse of force by police, especially against People of Color in this state.

Karen Akuyea Vargas, Carolynn Zimmers and PeggiErickson,

on behalf of Kitsap ERACE Coalition

Nuke deal

To the editor:

Hopefully President Biden will make nuclear deals with Iran and North Korea. However, it is equally to be hoped that he does not repeat the fatal flaw of the first Iran deal: It imposed a waiting period for the inspection of suspected sites. This would have allowed them to move the materials for making a nuclear weapon—such as enriched uranium—to a second site during the waiting period for the first site; then when the second site would come under suspicion, it would have a waiting period during which the material could be moved to a third site; and so on. (That is why a future president may cancel the deal again.)

Alvin Blake

Bainbridge Island