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Democrats’ agenda weakens law enforcement efforts

The House of Delegates adjourned last Friday and is subject to the call of the speaker with 48 hours notice.

As of this writing, that means the earliest we could be recalled would be Wednesday, no doubt to another virtual session. We still have no idea why the special session is moving so slowly and how long it may last.

Democrats continue to show they have no idea how to run the House. Legislation is being presented to delegates after votes are taken. Amendments are unwritten before votes, and members are having trouble seeing legislation, let alone members of the public.

It is the Democrats goal to defund the police. They have pushed through legislation in the Senate that will make it less of a crime to assault police officers and first responders, and there are budget amendments pending that would make major cuts to police budgets.

Democrats like Lee Carter are proud of this. Last week he said that police were the major enforcers of “class roles,” something straight out of the Marxist handbook. They want resource officers out of our schools and one delegate has a budget amendment to zero out school resource officer grant funding. Make no mistake in knowing that I fully support the SRO funding and the work School Resource Officers do to protect our school’s students and staff.

Democrats went out of their way to tell us that they were not going to defund the police. Let’s be clear, Republicans want to improve policing, and we stand with our public safety professionals. We stand with the people who put their lives on the line every day, keeping us safe.

The Democrats in the House Public Safety Committee, on which I serve, passed legislation banning police from using tear gas and rubber bullets that departments around the state and country have deployed in response to recent widespread civil unrest. One police officer testified that without these tools to apprehend criminals on a daily basis there would undoubtedly be more police shootings instead of less.

The House advanced legislation Friday that would require cities and counties across the state to establish civilian review boards with the authority to investigate citizen complaints and take disciplinary action against police officers. The bill sets a deadline of July 1, 2021, for localities to set up the review boards, which have become one of the leading police reforms pushed by protesters across the country. They set no criteria for experience or training for those that would serve on these review boards. In fact, our sheriffs already have citizen’s review boards – they are called elections.

We are very fortunate to have the men and women in our area that serve on the various police forces. I do not support anything that would make their jobs harder or more dangerous. All of this legislation that the Democrats are pushing during the special session would make it more difficult to retain and recruit people to serve in law enforcement – something that is already a challenge in rural Virginia.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.