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Law enforcement: Not charging prolific offenders does ‘immeasurable damage’

King County Courthouse. (penjelly, Flickr)

Following multiple reports alleging that King County prosecutors are failing to consistently charge repeat “prolific” offenders and people resisting arrest, another local law enforcement group is weighing in.

RELATED: What King County judges need to address prolific offenders
RELATED: Almost half of ‘prolific’ homeless criminals return to jail

The Washington State Fraternal Order of Police Officers issued a statement Tuesday, saying that recent reports regarding these accusations “are casting light on a long-standing front-line law enforcement frustration.”

“A failure to consistently prosecute repeat and prolific offenders does immeasurable damage to the public’s sense of safety and fails to consider the victims and the unintended negative impact on the community when such decisions are made,” the news release reads.

A representative from WAFOP echoed those sentiments.

“The public is frustrated by the volume of property crime in their communities; they’re similarly frustrated with watching these repeat offenders escalate in the severity of their crimes,” WAFOP Executive Director Lynnette Buffington told KIRO Radio.

Recent frustrations from law enforcement have also stemmed from a reported unwillingness from the King County Prosecutor’s office to charge criminals for assaulting police officers while resisting arrest.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recently stated that his office would “not file [charges] when the assault can be best described as resisting” an arrest from an officer.

“Those who assault law enforcement officers must be held accountable,” WAFOP’s statement fired back. “The working men and women in Washington law enforcement risk their lives every day and should be recognized as victims of assault when an individual(s) deliberately inflicts injury or severe pain on the officer.”

This whole controversy first made headlines in late February, when a study from former Ed Murray staffer Scott Lindsay surfaced, claiming that “prolific” homeless criminal offenders have been repeatedly victimizing Seattle’s neighborhood businesses.

The study analyzed 100 people with “a high frequency of criminal activity in Seattle,” and the impact those people have had on public safety in the city’s busiest neighborhoods. Its conclusion: Repeat offenders have been moving through a revolving door in the King County criminal justice system.

Judges and law enforcement have since spoken out confirming the study’s salient conclusions, most recently in a KIRO 7 TV report from Deedee Sun.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a surprise it was coming from the other side of the country. It was a shock and it still is a shock to me how cases are prosecuted here, or not prosecuted,” Black Diamond Police Commander Larry Colagiovanni told Sun.

“Some of the cases we’ve sent over there that have been declined have just been crazy. Crazy,” he added.

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