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Morning Press Law enforcement teachers POWs citizens roads guns

first_imgOn trial for assault, former Washougal police Officer Robert Ritchie pretends to punch his attorney, Jaime Goldberg, as he sits inside a mock-up of a patrol car while playing the role of victim Tyler Lampman, not pictured, inside Clark County District Court Judge Sonya Langsdorf’s courtroom March 14, 2013. Were you away for the weekend? Catch up on some big stories.The calendar rolls into autumn at 7:29 p.m. Pacific Time today. Will we cool off? Local weather coverage is online here.Arbitrators sometimes reverse punishment of law enforcement officersThe state’s grievance arbitration system was designed to protect public employees from discipline without just cause and violations of their employment contracts. Yet some arbitrator decisions reinstating police officers terminated for criminal activity or alleged criminal activity have called into question whether the arbitration system serves the interest of public trust in law enforcement.Some law enforcement leaders say they can’t depend on arbitrators to uphold discipline of peace officers who violate the law. They have unsuccessfully proposed legislation that would decertify officers convicted of gross misdemeanors due to strong opposition from labor groups.In lieu of legislative changes, some law enforcement agencies have sought to bypass arbitrators by coming up with alternative ways to get rid of officers accused or convicted of crimes — such as payoffs in exchange for a resignation — but those methods don’t prevent the officer from taking a job at a different law enforcement agency.“It comes down to the public trust,” said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who helped spearhead legislation to address the problem. “The public has to trust that we hold ourselves to a higher standard.”last_img read more