Six cops killed on duty in two months.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and state law enforcement leaders want that trend to stop, but they say the right reforms might take more time than a 60-day legislative session provides.
A constitutional amendment of bail laws is a likely first step, Gregoire said Wednesday. An automated notification system that would track releases of potentially dangerous offenders is another.
Other measures go beyond legislation, touching on communication between state agencies and the difficult landscape of interstate politics.
Wednesday's announcement was long on purpose, short on specifics. Gregoire did not reveal a package of bills. Instead, following a meeting with criminal justice leaders, she described a "continuing conversation" about "thoughtfully improving our justice system, not with rhetoric, not with blame and not with legislation that's based on anger or politics."
Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, spoke with similar caution. "There really are no easy answers," Pierce said. "We don't live in a fail-safe society. The person responsible for what occurred in Lakewood was Maurice Clemmons."
Issues surrounding Clemmons and the Nov. 29 slaying of four Lakewood police officers dominated the discussion. Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar flanked Gregoire, as did Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
The proposed constitutional amendment aims squarely at the laws that allowed Clemmons to bail out of jail three times between July and November before fatally shooting the Lakewood officers.
Clemmons, a parolee from Arkansas, faced a potential third strike related to charges filed against him in Pierce County last summer, before the shootings. He bailed out in spite of those circumstances, and in spite of a mental health evaluation that deemed him dangerous to the community.
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