Lawmaker meets with county law enforcement

State Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, recently met with Island County Sheriff Mark Brown and other local law enforcement to discuss her concerns about local effects of an offender re-entry bill.

Bailey, a 10th District representative, is concerned that an “offender re-entry” bill passed by the 2007 Legislative session could have serious consequences with the crime rate in local communities.

Senate Bill 6157, which Bailey opposed, requires inmates who have served their time to be released to the county in which they committed their first crimes.

“Our local police and sheriffs’ offices share the same concern. While we don’t expect a large amount of offenders to be released back into our local communities, we want to ensure that proper resources are in place to be prepared for those who do return,” said Bailey.

“It’s vital that our communities stay safe and that our law enforcement officers have the tools and support necessary to do their jobs,” she said.

As Brown and others outlined their concerns about a wide range of public safety issues, including monitoring of sex offenders and how to pay for health care mandated for those in custody, Bailey took notes.

“It’s extremely important to keep an open dialogue with our public safety officials. They are the ones who are enforcing the laws we make in Olympia and they are on the front lines keeping our neighborhoods safe,” added Bailey. “These discussions were very productive and have provided good feedback that I will examine as we prepare for the legislative session in January.”

Bailey is preparing a public safety survey to be mailed to local citizens in an effort to garner comments and concerns from her constituents, as well as planning a series of “Coffee Talks” in October at coffee shops in the district for informal discussions about public safety and other issues.

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