Senator pushing to build more WA police academies ‘totally optimistic’ about next gen of sworn officers

Jul 25, 2022, 4:24 PM
WA Representative John Lovick - D (KIRO 7)...
WA Representative John Lovick - D (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

John Lovick (D), a representative for the state’s 44th district, is initiating a proposal to create four new police training academies to help tackle state police shortage.

“My proposal is to have a training academy in Pasco. I toured the facility two weeks ago, great location, and to have one in Vancouver, Everett, and Bellingham,” said Lovick on the Gee and Ursula Show. “So local candidates can go just like they’re going to college every day. They can go train all day, come home at night, go back and finish and then serve. Very, very simple. But it’s going to be very complicated, because we have a lot of work to do to make this happen.”

This follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement to create new campuses so cops aren’t forced to take 19 weeks of classes far from home.

Lovick, who served as a state trooper for 31 years before being elected to the statehouse in 1998, didn’t provide a cost estimate for the plan, but said the state needs to make the investment regardless of the price.

“This regional solution will expand access to law enforcement careers and will help train local law enforcement professionals who know the areas they serve. I’ve seen many times the difference that makes in protecting communities,” Lovick said. “I’m totally optimistic the investments that we make with this proposal will get the next generation of law enforcement professionals to step up and serve.”

The state lost 495 officers to retirements or resignations last year, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

“Anytime there is diversity in a community, you would have members serving a community that understand the issues more and a lot better,” Lovick said. “I’m very confident that that is going to happen.”

In the entire state, approximately 90% of new police recruits receive training in Burien.

“Actually there’s a small academy in Spokane and then there’s the State Patrol academy that primarily trains state troopers down in Shelton, but you’re absolutely right,” Lovick said. “We need more regional campuses in our state. Once I get on something, I’m going to focus like a laser. This is going to happen, because it’s time for us to have more facilities so we can train more police officers that can go back and serve in the communities they know.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Senator pushing to build more WA police academies ‘totally optimistic’ about next gen of sworn officers