Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and state law-enforcement leaders are backing proposals they hope will help judges and prison administrators do a better job of protecting the public and police officers from potentially deadly encounters with people who are violent or mentally ill, reports the Seattle Times. Among changes gaining traction are a constitutional amendment granting more leeway for judges to deny bail, increased penalties for family members who aid criminal suspects, and swifter, more severe punishment for felons who violate terms of community supervision.
The proposals were drafted after the killings of 4 Lakewood, Wa., police officers on Nov. 29. the case has drawn national attention and hand-wringing over how shooter Maurice Clemmons – who’d been released from jail despite a history of violence including pending charges of assaulting a police officer – might have been stopped. Gregoire said she wants to make sure that any action the state takes is “sensible” and not the result of “rhetoric or blame or  anger.”