Opinion

Law enforcement funding should be priority No. 1

The recent snubbing of federal funds for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is an issue that should have all of us concerned.

Being the second-lowest staffed sheriff’s agency in the state, KCSO should be at the top of the funding list, but unfortunately the funding board’s heads were somewhere else. The financial crisis for the department is becoming paramount and the fact these funds were distributed to only city and tribal law enforcement agencies in Washington, many with higher staffing levels, is just an outright shame.

Not one sheriff’s agency in the entire state received a dime of this funding. Are county citizens less important than those who are protected by city officers? Surely, the answer to that would be some bureaucratic ho-hum about how $1 billion can only go so far, but to overlook such an already-low-staffed agency can have potentially disastrous consequences.

The last thing our community needs is deputies to be laid off because of lack of funds. There has been no word from the sheriff’s office that laying off deputies will be the result, but the department can ultimately only do so much with what it has to work with.

It’s a sad day when decision-makers who are not even affiliated with communities in our own state can lay the hammer down on such an important area of public safety. Will they be living in our county if it comes to the point where there are less deputies on the streets to protect us? No.

Those locally who do represent us in Washington, D.C. need to stand up and do something about local law enforcement being at the bottom of the priority list. Better yet, call your local representative and urge them to get on the horn to Washington to ensure we are all properly protected in our own communities.

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