• Nadine Woodward

It's Time to Put Spokane's Safety First

In 2016, KXLY broke the story of violent sexual offenders being relocated to Spokane from McNeil Island. Two months ago, I was still telling this story, anchoring coverage educating Spokane residents about these relocations and reporting on the public's near unanimous outrage. But State leaders weren't listening to our community, and this dangerous policy continues.

I left journalism so I could do more than just report the important stories. And as your Mayor, I will fight to put public safety first.

The sexually violent predators being relocated to Spokane are (in nearly all cases) not from our area. Instead, they are being relocated from the commitment facility on McNeil Island as part of a program to supervise offenders in "less restrictive alternative" housing.

Why? Because it's cheaper to house them in Spokane and Kitsap and Poulsbo than keep them at McNeil Island. And because these predators are still being supervised they can be relocated anywhere, not just back to the community where their crime was committed.

The worst part? Our Sheriff and Police Chief aren't notified that these high risk predators are being moved to our city. They're not even notified if the offenders violate the conditions that allowed them to leave McNeil Island. They're being actively prevented from protecting Spokane.

This policy is a disgrace, designed to save the State money by putting predators in your backyard even if they're from somewhere else.

At the heart of this problem is a state law that prevents communities from stopping these relocations or restricting where these supervised offenders can be housed. Other Washington communities are taking a strong stand against the State's dangerous policy, and it's time Spokane did too.

If I'm elected Mayor, I will work with City leaders to strengthen our zoning laws and prevent these sexually violent predators from living in residential areas near Spokane families. I will fight this law in court if need be, because the State cannot use our neighborhoods to house sexual predators who are at a high risk to reoffend.

Further, I will tirelessly lobby State leaders, especially our local legislators, to stop the practice of relocating these predators into our community instead of keeping them at McNeil Island. Keeping these dangerous predators away from children and families is why the commitment facility at McNeil Island was built.

For three years, I have been educating the public about this shameful situation. As your Mayor, I will fight to end this dangerous policy that saves money by making our Spokane families less safe.

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