By Greg Premo, Chief of Police.
Over the last 12 months, many local and state governments have been exploring various proposals related to law enforcement reforms. These discussions have included new laws on police tactics, administrative policies and new approaches to addressing criminal behavior. On May 18, Governor Inslee signed into law several bills passed by your state legislators concerning many of these areas. Currently, agencies are in the midst of reviewing the details to determine the operational impact on local departments and public safety.
Some of these laws will have a direct impact on how law enforcement services are provided in this state. The reduction of drug possession to a warning/referral for the first two offenses and then a gross misdemeanor for the third and subsequent offense is a big shift in our approach to addressing illegal drugs. This change shifts the burden of drug prosecution and referrals away from the county superior court system and onto cities as the cases will now be heard in municipal court. At a minimum, there is a fiscal impact to local jurisdictions.
Fortunately, most of the new laws addressed policies that we at UPPD already had in place. Others raise some serious questions on how we might move forward. I can assure you that UPPD will adapt to these changes and continue to provide the professional service you have always received.
Later this summer we hope to host a Public Safety forum to discuss with you some of the impacts of these new laws and how we move forward together to improve public safety in U.P. Additionally, we are thrilled to bring National Night Out back in 2021! On Tuesday, Aug. 3 we will once again be visiting participating neighborhoods in University Place. Watch for more information on how to participate in future issues of Headlines. We look forward to this yearly opportunity to visit with U.P. residents as they gather to meet and connect as neighbors.
As always, if you have any questions about public safety in University Place, please don’t hesitate to reach out—and stay safe.