KENNEWICK, April 27, 2021 — The Washington Fraternal Order of Police (WAFOP) released the following statement regarding legislation enacted to address changes in Washington drug statutes in response to the State Supreme Court ruling in State v. Blake:
“The most important element of this legislation is that it provides time and a structure for all stakeholders to come together and work collaboratively to develop an appropriate long-term fix for the state’s laws regarding drug possession,” said WAFOP President Marco Monteblanco. “We have repeatedly seen the importance of sharing diverse perspectives in developing new and more effective approaches to law enforcement, and our members continue to support this collaborative approach,” he said.
“In the meantime, the bill also sets the stage for additional investments in law enforcement-assisted diversion (LEAD) programs in the 2023-25 biennium budget. We believe that such diversion programs can be more effective than incarceration for many folks who are struggling with behavioral health challenges,” he added. “This is a good start until we can arrive at a long-term solution like a statewide substance use recovery services plan that prioritizes outreach, treatment, and recovery support services rather than drawing more heavily on criminal justice system resources.”