Business Police Reform Letter
by Matt Landers, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
| Feb 25, 2021
This letter was sent to the Washington State Legislature on February 25, 2021.
Dear Leader Billig and Speaker Jinkins, Our businesses employ thousands of people who work and live across Washington state, creating the fabric of our communities. We are thankful to enjoy strong relationships with members of law enforcement who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe. We also stand forcefully against racism, violence, and hatred – and stand with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities and groups that work toward justice and equality for all Washingtonians.
We recognize that bias – implicit and explicit – as well as institutional racism in the criminal justice system impact Black, Brown, and Indigenous people nationwide. Inadequate resources in public health and social services have no doubt become compounding factors that complicate policing today. While we need to address these larger systemic issues, there is an immediate need to reform policing in an effort to build trust amongst community members. In our own state we have witnessed police misconduct that has led to the unnecessary loss of life. From these horrors, national and local, historic protests brought thousands of people together to demand that our leaders reform policing so that all people can feel safe and protected.
The 2021 legislative session provides us with a critical opportunity for every stakeholder – elected officials, advocacy groups, businesses, our employees, law enforcement, and community members – to come together to reform our criminal justice system, keep our communities and our police safe, and to improve law enforcement-community relations in Washington. We urge the Washington Legislature to take decisive action in 2021 to reform policing in our state. This is a necessary step in achieving systemic change.
We support policies that include:
● Addressing law enforcement accountability and consequences of misconduct;
● Transparency through data collection and making that data publicly available - including the data on use-of-force incidents and police misconduct;
● Providing appropriate and robust oversight of policing;
● Providing community participation in policing;
● Standards-based best practices in law enforcement recruitment, training, and education;
● Evaluating and eliminating all discriminatory practices.
We believe such policies will improve the culture and support of policing, boost community confidence in policing and public safety, and advance positive outcomes across our criminal justice system.
Capitol Hill Business Alliance
Emerald Coast Venture Capital
GSBA - Washington's LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce
Inland Northwest Business Alliance
Resourcing Growing Consulting Firm
Symetra Life Insurance Company
Seattle Latino Chamber of Commerce
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA)