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AG candidate Larkin would redirect resources to help law enforcement

Police officers look on at protesters in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Matt Larkin is running for attorney general against incumbent Bob Ferguson, and recently picked up the endorsement of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. He joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss the endorsement, and his plan to help local law enforcement and prosecutors by redirecting resources from the AG’s criminal justice division.

“We weren’t surprised, but we were thrilled nonetheless,” Larkin said about the endorsement. “… We’ve got an attorney general who hasn’t spoken up once to get the backs of our men and women in blue, and that’s outrageous. He’s the chief legal officer in the state. If anyone should be speaking up, it should be him.”

“When I got into this race, I was running on supporting law enforcement because they needed it then,” he added. “If you remember, Seattle PD was demoralized. They were losing cops, they were moving out to the Eastside. The force was shrinking. They were having to lower the standards to get people to join on. And then things changed a few months ago, and now we’ve gone from just being demoralized to being threatened with defunding. The problem is we’ve seen this rising crime over the last decade, and the last thing we need to get crime under control is to start slashing our police force.”

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In an effort to address crime and some of the recent riots, Larkin has introduced a plan to redirect resources from the criminal justice division of the Attorney General’s Office to help local law enforcement and prosecutors. How exactly would that work?

“The Attorney General’s office has criminal jurisdiction,” he explained. “They can prosecute cases — it varies by state, but ours actually allows them to do that. So what we would do is is we would free up a team of attorneys. We’d have a highly trained, specialized prosecution force. We would put them at the disposal of county prosecutors. We’re looking at you, King County, and say we are here to help.”

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“We want to alleviate your burdens, we want to take some of these caseloads,” Larkin said. “We’ll take the big ones so you could focus more on street crime and the things that are clogging up the system so we can stop that revolving door of lawlessness. Eighty-nine percent of nonviolent arrests in the Seattle area go without a meaningful resolution in the courts. That’s outrageous. … It should not be that way, and as attorney general, someone needs to step in.”

As Jason wondered, we’ve often heard — whether it’s the Seattle city attorney to the King County prosecutor — that they’re lacking resources. While this effort might reduce that, what if this isn’t really the case and they simply do not want to prosecute?

“Well, we would find out pretty quick if it’s truly a resource problem or if it’s a worldview problem,” Larkin said. “I suspect it’s a worldview problem. But we would find out if we have a team of attorneys and I say, ‘We’re standing by Dan Satterberg, we’re standing by Pete Holmes to help you.’ And if our phone doesn’t ring, then we know that that’s really a red herring. And if the phone does ring, good on them, we would be happy to help.”

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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