On behalf of every law enforcement officer and their families in our state, I am asking you to vote yes for the proposed constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 4220. This amendment will allow judges discretion in denying bail for potentially dangerous offenders awaiting trial.
Oct. 31 marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting of two Seattle Police officers resulting in injury to Officer Britt Sweeney and fatally wounding Officer Timothy Brenton. Contemptuous acts of violence continued several weeks later with the murders of four Lakewood Police officers and again on Dec. 21 when Pierce County Sheriff's Sgt. Nick Hausner and Deputy Kent Mundell came under fire during a domestic disturbance call.
The magnitude of the tragic loss of six law enforcement officers in 2009 in Western Washington is beyond comprehension. Five spouses lost their life partners, 13 children lost a parent. The grief and pain these families are still enduring is difficult to grasp.
The loss of these officers touched our family personally. Our son-in-law is a Pierce County Sheriff's deputy. In June 2009, responding to a domestic disturbance call, he was involved in a shooting incident with a paroled felon. Thankfully his injuries were not serious. The offender was charged with kidnapping, attempted murder and parole violations, which included; failing to register as a sex offender and possession of a firearm.
Speaking at Deputy Mundell's memorial service Gov. Gregoire stated, "I've stood now too many times in front of grieving law enforcement families. My sorrow is great. My resolve is even greater."
The governor called for an Officer Safety Summit, which was held in January. Attendees included law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, and corrections officials. New legislation aimed at helping better protect and benefit our law enforcement officers, their families and the citizens of Washington state were subsequently passed and signed into law.
Voter approval is needed on HJR 4220 to facilitate an added measure of safety for law enforcement officers and citizens.
Our heartfelt sympathy to the families of these exceptional officers and our deepest gratitude for their service and ultimate sacrifice: Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton; Lakewood Police Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, Greg Richards; Pierce County Sheriff Deputy Kent Mundell. Gone but not forgotten.