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Snohomish County open to reform, but rejects demands to defund police

A line of police officers surrounding City Hall on Wednesday, June 3. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Snohomish County Defender Collective, a group of protesters and activists, are demanding that the county council defund the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and their $75 million budget. Is that feasible and is it even safe? Snohomish County Council chair Nate Nehring joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss why he rejects the demands.

What specifically were the demands?

“Their main demand was that the county council defund the county sheriff’s office by 50%, so we essentially take away 50% of his funding and reallocate that to other areas. They also did mention in their letter that we cut ties with the sheriff’s office and also cut ties with municipal police departments,” he said.

Sufficed to say, they won’t be doing that.

“I’m always open and willing to listen to folks when they’ve got ideas to come forward with. This is just such an unreasonable proposal and I don’t think it’s very serious … We should be taking a hard look at criminal justice reform … but it’s really difficult to do that when we have these sorts of radical proposals going around.”

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As Jason noted, he believes that many of those pushing to defund police this do seriously believe in what they’re asking, and yet they’re coming forward with something that deep down they know is not going to happen, and yet they push it anyway. Why does Nehring think they do this?

“It’s an interesting point. If you look at places like Minneapolis and Seattle, maybe there is the potential for things like this to happen there. So maybe the thought is, ‘Well, if we start now, we can start the movement to where this sort of thing can happen in Snohomish County,” he said.

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“I don’t think that is gonna happen” Nehring continued. “The folks I work with are pretty levelheaded and not not willing to consider this sort of thing.”

So what can and should be done with regards to police reform in Snohomish County?

“I think there’s some common sense reforms that we can look at … Some examples of what I think we should look at are increasing transparency, increasing accountability through more community oversight, requiring body cameras is something which has come up.”

“I think that’s why it’s so important that we set aside some of these more radical or extreme calls for defunding or abolishing the police so that we can focus our energy on real reforms that can happen in order to have a positive impact on our communities.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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