In a recent audit, the U.S. Department of Justice criticized the Seattle Police Department for excessive force, among other things. Washington state Rep. Chris Hurst, chair of the House Public Safety Committee and a former police officer, talks about how the report got it wrong.

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THE Dec. 17 Seattle Times headline on the Department of Justice probe of the Seattle Police Department was “Feds vs. SPD.” It should have read “Feds vs. law-abiding citizens.”

Absurd? Maybe, but no more absurd than the report from the Justice Department. Both are out of touch with reality.

SPD is not broken. It is not a department of rogue cops.

The DOJ got it wrong. Does the Police Department have problems? Yes. There are officers who have said and done racist and abusive things, and they should be punished.

But the entire department — good, honest officers who keep the people of our biggest city safe at night — should not be tarred by this same brush.

DOJ’s presentation contained a strong bias that officers should not use more force when people are intoxicated or high on alcohol and drugs. If this is the agency’s premise, then the entire report is deeply flawed.

Officials at the DOJ and the American Civil Liberties Union should try reasoning with drunks and people high on crack and meth, and then see if they feel the same. They might find out that 50 percent of all police officers killed are killed by their own weapons, and not at the hands of master criminals. They die because they failed to control drunk or high suspects quickly enough.

I was a police officer for more than 25 years. I tried to reason with people who were high on drugs. It’s quite difficult at best, and usually very dangerous.

The police cannot just reason with belligerent drunks who want to drive off in a car. Good policing requires the use of force more frequently when people are drunk or high, to keep the rest of us safe.

There is a move in recent years to say that drug addicts and chronic alcoholics are somehow victims. Nonsense. They are not victims. The rest of us are. Is it sad to see the behavior of street drunks and addicts? You bet. But it is not the fault of the police or the rest of us.

No one makes a person smoke crack cocaine or drink alcohol every day. The police didn’t stick needles in people’s arms. In this new era of outrageous political correctness, no one seems to be responsible for anything.

Enough is enough. If someone gets intoxicated and then starts a fight with others or the police and then gets hurt, that person alone should accept personal responsibility for the damage done.

The DOJ also said it found “a disproportionate use of force” with mentally ill people. This is again, unfortunate, but a fact of life on the streets. When people show signs of mental illness, they are at a heightened risk of harm to themselves or others. Once they show signs of combativeness, if police fail to get them under control, they put themselves and others at greater risk. Most mentally ill people are not dangerous, but only a mentally ill person pulls out a knife or a gun in a public place and kills at random. Police must assess the situation and act in mere moments.

The report also details that some officers use force more than others. But officers who work the streets in a tough part of town on a night shift use force more than a property room officer. Patrol officers use force more than burglary detectives. That’s just common sense.

One must consider the officers’ job assignment, when and where they work. If there is a shift and location where the real problem lies, then let’s address that more specifically.

The report seems to assume a zero-sum game, that in every case you can pick a winner and a loser, but the use of force isn’t that clear. Ignoring the compelling impact of intoxicated and mentally ill suspects, for the most part, does not do justice to the officers being judged.

State Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, is chair of the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. During his career as a police officer, he served as an undercover detective and commander of a homicide task force.