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Ferguson unveils public safety plan, Reichert blames the AG for most of the problems

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(The Center Square) – Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson this week released his public safety plan should he be elected governor in the fall.

Since the post came out, reaction has been sharp from opponents and at least one member of the state legislature.

The public safety plan is posted on Ferguson’s campaign website and says in part:

“Washington has serious public safety challenges – the data show it, and we need a new approach. Every Washingtonian deserves the freedom to be safe from harm.”

The plan promotes the hiring of additional law enforcement at every level, holding violent criminals more accountable and dealing with the backlog of untested rape kits at the state crime lab, among other priorities.

Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, tells The Center Square that Ferguson’s plan has been Republican legislation for ten years.

“It wasn’t long ago, Ferguson’s party was asking to defund police, so each one of these items, while all things we can support, are things we’ve been asking for, for a very long time,” said Mosbrucker, the ranking minority member of the House Public Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee.

“It’s frustrating to see it now, because many of our constituents have had heart-breaking situations they’ve suffered as a result of doing the opposite the last ten years.”

Ferguson’s policy details how he would address the critical shortage of law enforcement and combat the fentanyl crisis by using resources from opioid companies that fueled the epidemic. Resources that the AG’s office says Ferguson recovered through litigation.

The plan also highlights equipping law enforcement with improved technology and data, and advancing equity and proven youth crime prevention strategies, not just crime response.

Former King County Sheriff and gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert tells The Center Square that Ferguson is out of touch.

“Not only with victims but out of touch with people who are trying to enforce the law. The supposed solutions that he’s offering don’t make any sense to me,” he said.

Reichert says he blames Ferguson’s lack of leadership and lack of understanding of law enforcement for where we are today.

“We have the lowest number of officers per capita in the entire country. Seattle is down almost 400 officers, King County is close to 150 down and in some of the smaller community departments, if you’re down 5, 8, 9 or ten cops. That’s a huge chunk of your resources.”

“They’re not signing up to be cops today because the pay is bad, but because there’s no support and they are not allowed to enforce the law,” he said. “The solution to hiring well trained police officers is number one, allow them to enforce the law and then back them, support them when they do make those tough decisions. Where has Mr. Ferguson been all of these years, when he’s the one who actually led us down this path.”

Reichert said the crisis in recruiting police officers is not allowing them to enforce the law, not supporting them when they make tough life-and-death decisions, and making officers feel like “they are the ones going to be charged with a crime if they make that tough decision.”

Ferguson didn’t respond to requests for comment before publication.