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John Batchelor


Rantz: Ignore this Sheriff Urquhart advice

Sheriff Urquhart. (File, Associated Press)

I have an undeniable pro-law enforcement bias that I don’t shy away from — nor should I — and I have been a fan of King County Sheriff John Urquhart. But I have to say, I hope you ignore a recent request of his.

Rantz: I won’t follow the distracted driving law

As you know, Governor Jay Inslee signed into a law a ridiculous distracted driving law that I won’t fully abide by. Law enforcement is exempted (rightfully) because they have received special training.

However, Urquhart doesn’t want his deputies to be fully exempt.

“I don’t like my deputies speeding, I don’t like my deputies talking on the cellphone,” Urquhart told Q13 News. “I expect them to follow all the laws that everyone else is expected to follow.”

Fair enough. But his advice to you is a bit much.

“If somebody sees a deputy breaking a traffic law such as talking on a cell phone, we need them to call internal investigations and we will investigate that,” Urquhart said. “And we will take the proper action.”

With respect to the sheriff, doesn’t the internal investigations unit have more important issues to look into?

Please ignore his advice. I truly hope I don’t earn the ire of Urquhart (seriously, don’t get mad!), but this is a ridiculous request. Deputies have enough on their plate than to deal with citizens ratting them out for using their phones when the citizen likely won’t know why the deputy is on the phone, to begin with. Per Urquhart, deputies can use a cellphone in the time of an emergency.

If they’re on their phones while driving and it’s causing dangerous conditions, of course, you should report it. But let’s treat deputies with the same kind of deference we hope they treat us with when enforcing this silly law. Let’s not bog down internal investigations with frivolous complaints. And if you’re upset that they might get “special treatment” in your eyes, put their job in perspective: when you run toward danger to help your community, I think we can offer you the same perk of using your cellphone safely.

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