On Wednesday, January 15, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) presented Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, with its 2013 Legislator of the Year award for the Senate Republican Caucus.
The award was presented by council president Craig Bulkley and other council leaders and staff at a luncheon in Olympia.
"Senator Pearson has been a strong advocate for the men and women in our state's law enforcement community, and this award is our organization's way of recognizing his efforts, particularly on the issue of protecting our due-process rights," Bulkley said, referring to Pearson's opposition to proposals last year that could have potentially harmed checks and balances on managerial authority in the dismissal of law enforcement officers.
"As a long-time member of the corrections and public-safety committees in both the House and Senate, Kirk Pearson's always been a leader on the issues most important to law enforcement – he's always been there for us."
The award ceremony was part of the WACOPS Winter Membership Meeting and Day on the Hill, taking place this week in Olympia.
"It is such an honor to receive this award," Pearson said. "I have great respect and appreciation for the men and women in uniform who work so hard to protect our families.
"One of the best parts of my job as a legislator, and the reason I enjoy serving on the Law and Justice Committee, is the opportunity it gives me to work with members of our law-enforcement community and the dedicated staff at WACOPS."
During the 2014 legislative session, which began Monday, Pearson will continue to work on issues impacting Washington's criminal justice system. On Wednesday he introduced a bill aimed at closing a loophole in the state's domestic-violence supervision law. Currently the Department of Corrections is required to supervise an offender sentenced to community custody regardless of the risk classification if that offender has a prior history of misdemeanor "repetitive domestic violence."
Pearson's legislation, Senate Bill 6192, would require supervision of a first-time felony domestic-violence offender even when the offender has no prior domestic-violence convictions.
In addition to Pearson, WACOPS also recognized: Sen. Jeannie Darneille of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Rep. Dave Hayes of the House Republicans and Rep. Marcus Riccelli of the House Democrats.