THE EDITORIAL CARTOON published on the Commentary page in the Peninsula Daily News on Tuesday was a nationally syndicated cartoon descriptive of a national conversation.
It was not directed at local law enforcement. It did not reflect the work members of North Olympic Peninsula law enforcement do every day or their attitudes.
Many of you felt the cartoon chosen on Tuesday was unfair (although we did receive one “bravo.”)
Despicable, inflammatory, disgusting were some of the terms used. Most who complained thought the cartoon referred to local law enforcement.
It did not, but we are glad to hear that the Peninsula police have such good support. And that support of those law enforcement agencies is well earned.
Long before George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, long before Black Lives Matter marches and nationwide protests against racial injustice, Peninsula law enforcement proactively put into place policies, training and innovations designed to expand their role of guardians and enforcers into community safety problem-solving.
Community policing is emphasized by the sheriff’s offices in both Clallam and Jefferson counties as well as in individual city police departments.
For instance, the Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Sequim police departments enlist the help of social workers or mental health professionals to connect people in crisis with resources to improve their lives — and the lives of those who share the community with them.
These unarmed “navigators” step up to assist with de-escalating tense situations and exploring solutions to such problems as homelessness, drug addiction or mental illness.
Peninsula police have stringent policies on use of force and accountability of officers.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and Port Angeles and Sequim police departments have been audited on the use of force and other policies as part of being accredited by Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), part of the 20 percent of the 300 law enforcement agencies in the state that have earned that distinction.
The Port Townsend Police Department is guided by the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and is pursuing WASPC accreditation, its chief says.
The Port Angeles Police Department’s chief says that more than 99.6 percent of the calls received in 2019 were resolved without force.
Officers are trained in crisis intervention.
Port Townsend uses a system developed by a department officer and the East Jefferson Fire Rescue chief in 2015. The RAD Protocol — RAD stands for Rage Aggression Delirium — is a process for merging police and medical response to persons in crisis.
These are some examples of measures taken by local law enforcement to guard against misuse of the trust put in them by their neighbors.
The Peninsula Daily News has reported these innovations in news stories over a period of years.
It’s our job. It’s our job to tell readers what is going on in the world through news stories and offer a sampling of opinion on issues of the day on the Commentary Page.
We aim for fairness and balance. In news stories, that means telling all sides of the story and presenting accurate facts — and correcting our work when we fail in that mission.
On the Commentary Page, it means offering a smorgasbord of the variety of opinion in our country. We publish both conservative and liberal columnists. We run your differing opinions in the letters to the editor column, and we choose editorial cartoons that are representative of different views of current events.
Now as the world writhes in a spasm of change to what end none of us can foresee, it is especially important we all know what other people are thinking.
The cartoon was one of many editorial cartoons we have published. Taken together they display the diversity of opinion in our nation.
And that is the only point we intend to make.