I thought I would take a moment to share with all of you some of my thoughts concerning recent events.
I would like to emphasize that these are my thoughts and do not represent the thoughts of Woodinville city government or the King County Sheriff’s Office.
In March I will have been in law enforcement for 37 years! I am very proud of my service and my profession however, there have been days this past year when I just want to put my head down and take a nap and/or run away.
Over the course of the past 37 years I have seen many changes in law enforcement. I was hired almost straight out of college at 22 years of age. Yes, I was once young! At the time my goal was to make a positive difference in peoples lives. I truly believed I could be of help. Frankly, my goals have not changed. I cannot begin to express just how proud I am to be a member of the King County Sheriff’s Office/Woodinville Police Department. Everything I’ve learned comes from the training and mentorship provided by the KCSO.
One thing I think that is so important to this conversation is to distinguish that not all police departments/sheriff’s office are exactly alike. Certainly, in theory our mission is the same, but, dependent upon where we live, and yes, our upbringing, the training we receive, police departments/police officers can be different. I’ve seen this as I’ve traveled around the country and even within our own state. Being “painted with the same broad brush” has been incredibly frustrating but that is a topic for another day.
This past year has been epic to say the least. COVID-19, civil unrest, protests, riots, two of our deputies were shot. The list goes on.
As your police chief and someone who is incredibly vested in public safety, I’ve certainly experienced doubt and concern regarding our future both here in Woodinville and across our country.
I, like many of you have experienced many sleepless nights this past year. But like so many of you, I too have a job to do and a responsibility to all of you and to my deputies. I get up and come into work determined to do the right thing every single day, because after all that’s how I was raised. (A shout out to my parents).
Yes, I’ve had my down days, but overall, I refuse to give in to despair, to anger, and the negativity that surrounds law enforcement these days. I watched this summer as 3 young African American adults met with us to organize a Black Lives Matter protest in Woodinville. They were adamant that they wanted this to be a peaceful protest. They respectfully asked that law enforcement not be involved in the march. Initially, I thought why not? We want to be involved, we want to participate, but that’s when I realized the need to stand back, put my ego on the shelf and acknowledge this isn’t about me, it isn’t just about law enforcement. It’s about so much more.
The peaceful and yet so very impactful message was at times difficult to take in, but the environment created was one devoid of violence, an environment in which the message of inequitable treatment, yes sometimes by law enforcement, could be heard.
Change is coming. Change is inevitable. Change can be positive. Change is necessary for growth. Change is listening with an open mind while at the same time voicing our opinions freely and without fear of retaliation. Change is active bystandership.
I’m not a scholar, I don’t have a PHD, I’m a police chief who has seen her fair share of violence, who is heartbroken over what I’ve seen and experienced this past year. I know I don’t have all the answer’s (as I’m sure will be pointed out) but I want you all to know that as we move forward as a community, and as a country, I am going to make it my mission to ensure that the Woodinville Police Department will do it’s best to listen to your concerns, to actively seek out new and innovative ways regarding community engagement and crime prevention as well as looking at our response to mental health calls for service.
With all this said, I am very proud of the work our police department does. No, we are not perfect we are not without fault but at the end of the day, I know without reservation that we do care about this community.