An 2018 Concern
Our Law Enforcement Is Under Siege: It's Time To Re-Build Trust
A scene from the violent uprising in Salt Lake City on May 30, 2020
Our police are under siege across the Country by protesters who are disgusted with violent acts of law enforcement upon innocent victims. Yet without a reputable force of public safety officers, residents of our communities would be open to rampant crime and lawlessness having to take the laws into our own hands, many of them not specifically trained for restraint and adequate lawful defense of their own well-being.
Now our Utah State Legislature in their fifth special session of 2020, has even cut the $250,000 earmarked for a special first responder Crisis Line to help our law enforcement officers deal with the mental health trauma that often comes with having to face the tragedy of life and death situations "Utah lawmakers eliminate funding to help first responders," Deseret News (June 19, 2020). As a state legislator, I commit to never to betray the trust of these fine people who put their lives before others. These first responders deserve more than being the first cut. Even more astounding is that our State Legislature only used a third of its Rainy Day Fund to avoid more severe public education and social service impacts "Utah Legislature approves coronavirus-related budget cuts," The Salt Lake Tribune (June 18, 2020) addresses other pandemic impacts in special session but apparently forgot how to honor those people who save the lives of those who benefit from education and social services.
While I have personally met a number of residents some of them motorcyclists and/or some of minority descent who have complained about the aggressive and uncalled for treatment by the police, their complaints mostly centered around the actions of officers outside of Davis County. I have witnessed the continuous patrols of Sunset Police cars in their City while out walking. I have witnessed the rapid response by police and paramedics to traffic accidents. Our Davis County officers serving West Point are one of the few in Utah that are cross-trained with Police Academy credentials as well as paramedic certification while patrolling West Point neighborhoods. I have met with the Clearfield and Clinton Police Chiefs and their ready availability to answer my questions relating to crime or transportation issues in our communities.
We must be careful not to over-react to national or big city crime issues and instead focus on the law enforcement activities in our own neighborhoods. I will work closely with resident concerns about how law enforcement operates in House District 13 and I will develop working relationships with each local government and their agencies to ensure that Davis residents receive and have access to law enforcement services that we can trust and increase the amicable relationship between neighborhoods and police officers through encouraging and working to retain "community policing" programs.
Our Public Safety Officers Deserve A Retirement Program They Can Depend On
In 2014, the public safety retirement system under the control of the Utah State Legislature substantially reduced the retirement benefits of newly recruited police officers and firefighters according to two former public safety personnel and one active highway patrol officer. The State Legislature may be putting the public at risk as local police and fire departments are now experiencing difficulties recruiting qualified public safety officers. Time is running out to ensure that our communities can retain experience and qualified public safety personnel. We deserve better.
"I commit to carry on and complete
the important work and efforts of our current state representative
to "fully" restore and provide equitable retirement benefits
to our heroic public safety employees."
As your House Representative I will fight to maintain essential public services necessary for our public safety. Utahns cannot afford not to go without qualified personnel to respond to instances of crime or fires placing you at risk of serious injury or property loss. Hard budget decisions may be necessary, but public safety cannot be cutback at the expense of people's property or lives. If elected, I will seek to have public hearings held to hear from local police and fire departments about their difficulties in recruiting qualified candidates and find out what adequate funding levels are needed.
One former law enforcement officer stated last year (2019) that our communities have gone away from community policing which allows our lawn enforcement agencies to stay in close touch with residents.
A number of residents last year (2019) also questioned the wisdom of eliminating state inspections of vehicles. One mechanic warned that eventually many car owners whose cars aren't inspected will begin to experience tie rod deterioration to the point that drivers will be operating dangerous vehicles and likely losing control of them.
SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT
I strongly support our United States Constitution. For intellectual interest, I occasionally read the actual text of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on important political issues. Even as a high school student when I was appointed to the Utah State School Superintendent's Student Rights and Responsibilities Committee my primary activity consisted of studying the United States Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court decisions on student free speech and student due process rights. In this position, I authored about two-thirds of the Utah State School Board's policy guidelines (1975) regarding these important rights.
As for the Second Amendment, I strongly adhere to the Supreme Court decision written by Justice Scalia in the 5 to 4 District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008) decision that upheld extending the Second Amendment right to individuals in addition to the state militia that overturned the total ban of handguns in the District of Columbia. As a "moderate" Democrat I am keeping an open mind with regards to various gun violence prevention proposals, but I will not automatically support any of them just because I am a Democrat. Justice Scalia provided in his written opinion a solid and persuasive historical argument about the importance for Americans to be able to choose to be able to defend their home against both criminals and, if necessary, the federal government.
I am for gun legislation to reduce public violence but at the same time I recognize that the Second Amendment likely requires any restriction on the use of arms by the State to be able to withstand the highest form of judicial review "strict scrutiny." Unless the State is cautious in its approach to gun control, the State would have to spend and waste millions of dollars of the taxpayer attempting to win lawsuits in Federal Courts that are more likely to fail.