Seattle Law Enforcement Adopts Less “Negative” Terminology For Suspects

Some things can only take place in the far-left regions of the West Coast – you know, places like Seattle. Today’s evidence of Seattle crazy is a new initiative by law enforcement in that city to use less “negative” terminology to describe suspects and inmates. And among the law enforcement community, it’s going over about as well as you might expect.

When Seattle police officers write use of force reports they no longer call a suspect a suspect.

“Community member” is the new term. Several officers say the term is offensive, explaining their work with violent suspects.

Maybe you’re like me and wondering what community a suspect is part of, but the semantic overcorrection doesn’t end there. Authorities are also worried about how not to offend the incarcerated with their terminology.

Last fall, the Washington Department of Corrections stopped calling inmates “offenders” and instead use the term “student.”

“The term ‘offender’ does have a negative connotation and significantly impacts a broad group of people and communities,” Acting DOC Secretary Dick Morgan wrote in an internal department memo, obtained by KIRO 7.

“Times change, and so does our language.”

However, that means Gary Ridgway — the most prolific American serial killer who said he has at least 71 victims — is no longer called an inmate or an offender. Neither are other murderers, rapists and felons.

The phase-out of the word “offender” started Nov. 1 and replaced with “individuals,” “student” or “patient,” the DOC secretary wrote to his staff.

We need to start worrying about where we are as a society if we’re concerned about how negative our language is toward people who are serving time for having committed crimes. (Also, it’s funny that someone is worrying about the word “offender” being offensive.) Of course, this thought isn’t lost on the law enforcement community, and they’re speaking out.

Kevin Stuckey, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild president who can speak publicly, said he believes the term “community member” is too vague.

“I don’t think you should have a broad stroke like that and call everybody the same thing,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling someone who is a victim a victim, or calling someone who’s a suspect a suspect.”

There’s something terribly wrong when political correctness seeps into law enforcement in this way – even when it’s happening in Seattle.

Could it be that police and corrections authorities need to spend less time worrying about whether terminology offends those who commit a crime and more time making sure said crimes don’t get committed? Playing Orwellian word games with police parlance doesn’t merely come across as counterproductive; it just seems wrong.

Man Criminalized By NJ Gun Laws, Pardoned By Chris Christie Becomes A Baltimore Police Officer

Do you remember the story of a young New Jersey private security guard who nearly faced jail time for being in possession of a legal firearm? Well, he’s now free to become a police officer and will be serving in the Baltimore Police Department.

I had originally written in The Hill about this major victory for 26-year-old Steffon Josey-Davis, but they chose a different title unrelated to the article to generate more clicks. So I chose to publish an article about Steffon desiring to serve this country in law enforcement.

Josey-Davis is a former private security guard from North Brunswick, NJ who will now serve as a police officer in Baltimore, Maryland. His case first garnered attention after he was arrested for possession of a firearm–a legally-owned Smith & Wesson M&P Shield–on September 20, 2013. His crime? Leaving it in his glove compartment.

Following that ordeal, Josey-Davis was treated like a criminal since New Jersey boasts some of the country’s most Draconian gun laws in the books. Steffon couldn’t apply for most jobs and was viewed in the same vein as a harsh criminal because of the felony charge placed on him. It wasn’t until June 2015 when he was pardoned by Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ).

In January 2016, he had his gun rights fully restored to him. I wrote more about this in Townhall:

“To my knowledge, right after I was pardoned by Governor Christie, I didn’t attempt to purchase any firearms since my arrest. I went to purchase a Savage Axis 30-06 on January 28th. I was delayed for a day or two and I was then approved after I made a few phone calls to my lawyer’s office as well as the governor’s office,” said Josey-Davis in an email.

“This is a victory for our Second Amendment community,” he said. “Someone who legally possessed a firearm, losing his Second Amendment rights, becoming a felon, being pardoned and getting his rights to purchase firearms again in the state of New Jersey is very rare.”

Steffon was kind enough to allow me to ask him some questions about him becoming a police officer with the Baltimore Police Department. Below are his responses:

RST: Do you believe many innocent people are criminalized by gun control policies just as you were? 

SJD: Being in law enforcement is a lifestyle. You have to want to help people. You have to have the patience and most importantly, the integrity. Police officers are trusted to keep the public safe. Having that opportunity is an honor.

RST:  What do you look forward to most about becoming a police officer?

SJD: I want my story to inspire our younger generation to prosper. It’s the perfect example of strength. It shows them with hard work and dedication anything is possible. Just being a role model to the public. I’m also writing a book called “The Pardon” that explains being prosecuted, to being pardoned, then entering law enforcement which has always been a lifelong dream. I’m happy to have this opportunity.

Steffon is in the process of writing a book about the legal ordeals he faced called, “The Pardon” due out in Summer 2017. You can support his writing efforts here.

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