Karen Bowerman for Clark County, WA Council District 3

Public safety is a critical responsibility of the county. There are several major areas of concern.

The first deals with street violence that our neighbors in Portland and Seattle have been facing this year. Originally protests focused on a message about police reform. However when violence replaced peaceful protest, meaningful discussion was drowned out. Our Clark County Sheriff and Vancouver City Police that had sent officers to Portland under mutual-aid agreements, now decline to do so, in part because of lack of legal consequence for some of the people being arrested. Therein lays a message for every community and its elected officials. Politicians must understand their responsibility for real law and order.

Second, we must be prepared to address how the county will address its aging facilities, particularly in light of huge revenue loss as a result of the pandemic combined with the great up-front and maintenance costs of county jail upgrades or replacements.

Prevention is another focus for public safety on several fronts, from senior wellness checks to substance abuse prevention and protecting our county from sex/kidnap offenders. Corrections has expanded from incarceration supervision to a corrections-based supervision that connects inmates being released with community resources to help reduce recidivism. The court system also has therapeutic specialty courts to help treat citizens’ underlying issues such as mental health or substance abuse. Such prevention efforts should constantly focus on effectiveness measures including recidivism.

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P O Box 871314 | Vancouver WA 98687