[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following Letter to the Editor was received via email from K. Scott Kimerer, Chairman of King County Police Chiefs on Wednesday Oct. 21st:]
In King County, there are over 35 police departments, the Sheriff, plus our state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Together, we are collectively sworn to protect over 1.8 million citizens. We meet monthly as partners in this effort to address the most pressing public safety issues facing our communities. At our October meeting, the King County Police Chiefs Association discussed the impacts that Initiative 1033 could have on our ability to provide basic police services.
Current economic conditions have already created serious budget cuts to police departments and diminished our ability to serve. The financial analysis of Initiative 1033 presents the real possibility that police protection could be significantly impacted as cities and counties address significant cuts in the funds to provide basic services. We are already seeing a reduction in police officer hiring. The Washington Criminal Justice Training Center has had a 30% reduction in enrollment this year at the academy.
82% of the cities in King County have a population of fewer than 50,000. It is likely that they will be hit the hardest as these cities must carefully manage precious financial resources to provide all of the needed services.
Like any service, police protection and access to justice in general has a threshold where further budget reductions will have measurable, negative impacts on the citizens. The King County Police ChiefÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Association feels it is our responsibility to inform and to offer our perspective on the potential impact to public safety that I-1033 may have. We encourage citizens to be informed and ask their city governments, review their City Council meetings, or go to their city website to see what is being said regarding the effect I-1033 would have on their ability to provide police and other critical services that create our quality of life and safety.
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