To me, public safety means sufficiently trained law enforcement officers, attention to mental and physical health, a strong public health system, laws that respond to emerging needs, fair compensation for difficult work, and a mutual contract between the people who serve and the providers of public services problems that need to be solved.
In the state legislature I supported some of the nation’s best laws against human trafficking and support for survivors of domestic and sexual assault. I lobbied to make sure the new crime lab to process evidence was located here in Clark County. I support common sense gun laws, increasing law enforcement academy classes, better pay for state troopers, addiction court options, and the juvenile justice center. Most incarcerated people will return to the community and need job training, treatment, and programs to prevent recidivism. I hope to continue to address these issues. I will also continue to advocate for laws that create transparency and accountability for police violence that came out of difficult/honest discussions that included LE, parents of dead children, and public safety experts. In 2020, I joined the fight to pass Nikki’s Law and ensure that no one can excuse an assault or murder of a transgender person because of who they are. Together, we helped WA become the 10th state to prohibit defendants from claiming a defense based on panic over a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
When talking about public safety, we must also consider things like mental health and addiction treatment availability. We need to do a better job of integrating mental health care into our current physical health system. It is still too difficult for folks who are struggling to find treatment. I voted to create mental health services in the community instead of out-of-date facilities and will continue to support updates to our current behavioral health systems.
True public safety requires collaboration between those that create the laws, those that enforce them, and our community. We need to continue to invest in and improve the infrastructure for public safety and public health. The two are not mutually exclusive and bettering both means more security for all.