County Councilman supports program to assess threats against police

April 6, 2010

By Staff

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn offered support last week for efforts by the King County Sheriff’s Office to create a task force to investigate threats against police officers and elected officials.

Dunn — who represents unincorporated King County south of Issaquah, as well as Bellevue and Newcastle — introduced a motion April 1 in support of the program, Risk Assessment, Deterrence and Referral, or RADAR.

The effort aims to help law enforcement personnel identify and track people who exhibit violent tendencies and threaten officers and officials. The plan also aims to develop strategies to be used by officers to help offenders receive mental health treatment.

“While King County has been making significant steps to be proactive when it comes to dealing with people engaged in criminal activities by not just incarcerating them but finding other avenues to provide help and counseling, it is time we take a broader regional view of these issues,” Dunn said in a news release. “This is another tool in our arsenal to help protect our law enforcement personnel, elected officials and the public.”

Officers could input information — such as criminal history — into a computer program to help determine whether a person is likely to act on threats.

Both police work and behavioral analysis would be used to identify people who pose a threat. Officers in the program would undergo specialized training.

Sheriff Sue Rahr, a strong supporter of the program, said federal agencies in the United States and Canada use a similar approach to threats.

“Both the Justice Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have demonstrated that this approach to crime prevention will work,” she said in the release. “I am grateful for the support we are getting here and in Washington, D.C., for the RADAR project. It is time to look at new ways to save lives and prevent tragedies that were thought to be inevitable, but actually can be preventable.”

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