Nealey joins House members to honor fallen law enforcement officers, provide change
Rep. Terry Nealey joined with members of the House of Representatives today to honor police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to ask lawmakers to approve legislation that would allow judges to keep violent arrestees behind bars.
House Bill 2625 would allow judges to determine whether bail is appropriate for a person arrested and detained for a felony. The bill stems from the bail release of Maurice Clemmons in Pierce County, who later shot and killed four Lakewood police officers at a coffee shop in November.
Family members of the fallen officers were in the House gallery today as Nealey, a newly elected lawmaker, gave his first official speech on the House floor.
“Somewhere, somehow, our system broke down. The law tied the hands of the judge in the case of Maurice Clemmons, and now we have lost four good officers — husbands and fathers, a wife and mother — heroes to all,” said Nealey, R-Dayton. “In my view, the best way to honor them and our other fallen heroes across the state, and all of those who put their lives on the line for us every day, is to fix the problem.”
Nealey said the shooting deaths of six police officers last fall in King and Pierce counties were “tragedies beyond words.” He said HB 2625 would provide another important tool to help the state's judicial system do a better job of protecting the public and police officers from deadly encounters with violent criminals.
“As a former prosecuting attorney, I believe we can further ensure protections to the public and law enforcement by providing judges with greater flexibility in the bail process,” added Nealey, who served for 16 years as Columbia County prosecutor. “Our goal as prosecutors is to ensure equal justice under the law. While I respect the rights of the accused, I think it is also incumbent upon the judge to review the backgrounds of each individual, and have the ability to determine whether that person is a flight risk, and if that person's release puts the public and law enforcement at risk.”
The measure passed the House unanimously and was sent to the Senate for further consideration. It was one of a series of public safety bills the House of Representatives adopted today, along with House Resolution 4679, which honors law enforcement officers who have given their lives in service to the citizens of Washington.
PHOTO: Rep. Terry Nealey speaks in the House chamber about House Bill 2625, which gives judges more discretion in determining whether bail is appropriate for a person arrested and charged with a felony.
###Washington State House Republican Communications