New state laws to improve police accountability will be a high priority for Washington’s Legislature in 2021.
State Rep. Gerry Pollet should play an important role and needs to be reelected to represent the 46th District, extending from Northeast Seattle to Kenmore.
Pollet, chair of the House Local Government Committee, is already working on several intriguing proposals. They dovetail with the Democrat’s record of advocating for open, transparent government.
One of Pollet’s proposals would require police departments to retain evidence of officer misconduct for longer than three years. That should happen automatically under public record-retention rules, but some police union contracts are calling for these records to be disposed of after three years, Pollet explained.
That makes it more difficult to establish whether a particular officer engaged in a pattern of misconduct. As Pollet put it, police don’t get to trump openness with collective bargaining.
Another would have administrative law judges, instead of police departments, decide whether officer certification should be revoked in misconduct cases.
These proposals need to be considered during the Legislative session. They are examples of Pollet’s thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for making positive change as a state representative.
An attorney and director of an organization advocating for Hanford Nuclear Reservation cleanup, Pollet also teaches at the University of Washington School of Public Health.
With the state facing perhaps $4 billion in lost revenue, Pollet favors new “wealth” taxes, such as taxes on capital gains and business investment income.
Pollet is challenged by Eric Brown, a former security guard, bus driver and paraeducator now looking for work.
Brown, a Republican opposes new taxes. He said a capital-gains tax may harm non-wealthy people such as his relatives with an investment home.
On police reform, Brown does not believe stronger accountability laws are needed. He favors enforcing and monitoring laws already in place.
Challengers bringing a new voice to district elections are welcome, especially against an incumbent first elected in 2011. But Brown doesn’t make a strong enough case to remove an effective and responsive representative like Pollet.
Voters in the 46th District should reelect Pollet to House Position 1.