Letter: Fuhr should reconsider police reform bills
First, let me say I admire Chief Fuhr. I have had personal encounters with him regarding treatment of the homeless, the Black Lives Matter Movement, open-carry militia and diversity of our police force. He has always been responsive and truly cares. With that said, I take issue with comments made by Chief Fuhr regarding pending police reform bills.
The chief agrees with the intent of each bill, but states that he does not want anything to affect his budget. He states that most requirements of these bills are already being addressed on the force, but he doesn’t want all law enforcement agencies held to the same standard. He also opposes requirements to report and publish information regarding use of force. His main argument is that we are not a large city like Seattle or Minneapolis. He states that if some of the bills are passed he would strongly consider leaving Washington state.
I would hate to see Chief Fuhr leave. I have great respect for him and how most of our interactions have been productive and respectful. He shows compassion in his actions. However, a community has a basic right to equal police protection and interaction whether it is big or small. No community should have more or less. A budget should not define quality of protection. The public has a right to know when and why use of force is utilized. Rather than viewing reporting as a financial/time burden, it should be viewed as education and accountability.
If officers feel a need to walk away because they fear being scrutinized for their work, they should do it now. Remember who you work for and why. These bills would not have been introduced if there were no need.