Friday, April 12, 2024
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Building trust in police a key goal, Lovick says

OLYMPIA — Sen. John Lovick describes himself as a Black man with brown skin who wore a blue uniform for a combined 37 years as a former state trooper and Snohomish County Sheriff.  

“Not everybody understands that I've been on both sides of the badge. And I've been at both ends of the barrel,” Lovick, a Democrat from Mill Creek, said. “And I let people know that I'm Black, I'm brown, and I'm blue.”

Lovick spent 31 years as a Washington State Trooper, served nine years in the House of Representative and was appointed to the Senate in 2021. In the 2024 Legislative session, he has been the primary sponsor of numerous bills related to policing and public safety. 

One of his most notable accomplishments is his Primary Seat Belt Law, which increased seat belt usage from 81% to 97%.

From where he sits, Lovick observes a pervasive sense of distrust toward law enforcement, particularly within communities of color. He acknowledges that while some reasons for distrust are warranted, others may not. 

However, for Washington to move forward in policing, he says it's imperative to reach a place of absolute trust in one another. 

According to Lovick, defunding the police never should have happened and should never be classified as a “movement.” He said money should never be taken away from the police. Instead, new ways to do policing should be considered. 

“I always say that 99.9% of our men and women in law enforcement do a great job,” he said. “But it's the ones that don't that spoil it for all of us.”

He thinks increasing trust in law enforcement goes hand in hand with diversifying it. He has a 3030 initiative to have 30% of our law enforcement be female by 2030. Lovick is particularly proud of SB 5424, a bill that would allow certain officers to work overtime, which he believes will help achieve this goal.

“I think that it's going to change the culture of policing,” Lovick said. “We're going to have men and women in the profession that maybe could not have stayed at a full-time job. Maybe they could have two kids at home.”

A new police training facility, which many refer to as a “cop city,” just announced its opening in Lacey, Washington, which many people protested, arguing that these facilities are military indoctrination centers. 

But Lovick says the scariest thing we will ever have in this state is un-trained police officers. 

“We need more, but we need better-trained police officers,” Lovick said. “We open those facilities so that we can train officers. That is the worst thing that we will ever do is not have properly trained police officers.”

Lovick said sometimes you need guardians and other times you want warriors. Usually, he said people want more guardians to keep people safe and not be at war with the community. 

But he says if someone steps on a school campus and tries to hurt a child, he wants a warrior. 

“I want to be that warrior, because I don't want it to be a fair fight,” Lovick said. “We need guardians all the time. We also need warriors at times.”

Lovick is the third Black and male State Senator ever and the first since 1991. He says this is just the way it is. 

“They say you can’t be what you can’t see,” he said. “Maybe some young kid ... that’s walking through here, sitting watching me speak, sitting watching me walk across the campus, and hearing people call me senator, it might inspire them to maybe go home and say, this is something that I want to do … that is kind of how I became a police officer.”

Lovick says he is having a great time serving as a senator and has no plans to retire. 

“Quite often, the voters decide how long they want you to serve.”


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