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Another Officer Shooting in Wash. May Lead To New Laws

Another Officer Shooting in Wash. May Lead To New Laws

(Stock Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 27, 2009

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The murders of five police officers and this week’s shooting of two more have lawmakers thinking about more than a looming budget deficit as they prepare to return to the state capital in January.

A handful of bills sparked by the recent shootings have already been prefiled in advance of next month’s start of the 60-day legislative session, and more are expected.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has called on law-enforcement groups to meet next week to compile a list of potential changes to state law, policy or the state constitution, and to meet with her on Jan. 8. And one lawmaker already has a public hearing scheduled to discuss the circumstances surrounding one of the shootings.

“The bottom line is we owe it to our law enforcement personnel to do everything we can to make sure they’re safe and secure out there,” Gregoire said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

“When you have a tragedy of this magnitude, you’ve really got to be thoughtful, you’ve really got to be deliberate,” she said. “Your impulse is to just go enact legislation, but good intentions don’t necessarily bring about good results. So I defer to those who have boots on the ground.”

The rash of shootings began in October, when Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car Halloween night. Christopher Monfort, 41, has been charged with aggravated first-degree murder in Brenton’s death.

Less than a month later, four Lakewood police officers were shot and killed at a coffee shop before their shift. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by a Seattle police officer.

After those shootings, Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, announced he was going to hold a public hearing to look into why Clemmons was out on the streets in the first place.

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