Letter to the Editor by SEIU 775 Caregiver Julie Sparkman
I was drawn to Spokane for of its hometown feel and because I thought it was a place where a positive life was possible. Although I’ve never had any negative interactions with our police, I am shocked to hear that Spokane has one of the deadliest police forces in the country, ranking third nationally in the rate of police killings by population. (https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/compare-police-departments)
Our Legislature is discussing bills right now that would stop police forces from buying and using dangerous and costly military equipment, like tanks and shoulder rockets (ESHB 1054). I strongly urge Sen. Jeff Holy and Rep. Mike Volz and Rep. Jenny Graham to support this and other common-sense police accountability bills including HB 1310, HB 1267 and SB 5051.
I am a caregiver for two local young people with autism and this year more than any, they could use these funds to get the additional care that’s out of reach. We have serious needs in Spokane for housing, and people are lined up for the food banks. Our taxes should go to give people hope, rather than oppress and endanger them.
I’ve never seen a militarized police force that didn’t use their weapons. Even if I was never personally harmed, I don’t want to support a community that doesn’t help and keep safe all its members. Spokane has the potential to be exactly what it presents itself to be; and that starts with a police force that is accountable to our community.