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May 03, 2010

Last year was the second deadliest year for law enforcement in our state’s history.  On May 7, Governor Chris Gregoire and I awarded 14 law enforcement officers the Medal of Honor, Washington’s highest law enforcement award. This honor is reserved for peace officers who have been killed in the line of duty, or who have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct.   This year, a record seven Medals were awarded posthumously, including those awarded to all four of the Lakewood Police Department officers who were killed on November 29, 2009.  Seven more officers were recognized for their extraordinary courage and valor.

Hundreds of peace officers, friends and family, and members of the public from across Washington and Canada attended the ceremony, held at the Law Enforcement Memorial on the state Capitol grounds.  As always, it was an extraordinary display of long-held law enforcement traditions, including an honor guard, bagpipes, last radio call, and a 21 gun salute.

Washington state’s Law Enforcement Memorial, among the most beautiful in the country, holds the names every single peace officer throughout our state’s history who has died in the line of duty.   Since 1855, more than 240 Washington law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty.   If you haven’t yet had the opportunity, I encourage you to visit the site when you are in the Olympia area.   A video of the ceremony can be viewed here.

Reaching out to the Chinese American Community

Americans in immigrant communities are twice as likely as other citizens to become victims of consumer fraud.  We are very concerned about scams targeting the Chinese American community, including individuals who offer immigration services but instead cost victims money, their jobs and the chance to live legally in the United States.

This month, we’re stepping up efforts to reach out to our Chinese-American communities to help protect residents from fraud and unfair business practices.   On Saturday, in partnership with Chinese-American community leaders, the Attorney General’s Office will be hosting a free public forum focused on consumer protection issues.

The forum will be moderated by Consumer Protection Division Chief Doug Walsh and Peterson Zhou, chairman of the Overseas Chinese Scholars Association and past director of the National Asian American Affairs Association in Issaquah.  It will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about our resources and services, including new Chinese-language educational materials now available in print and online. I am also very eager to use this opportunity to learn more about other issues affecting the Chinese American community.  

The forum will be held on May 29 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Attorney General’s Seattle office, 800 5th Ave. Suite 2000.  Advanced registration is requested. Please contact Peterson Zhou at 425-830-0398 or petersonzhou@gmail.com or Marlon Hsu at 425-895-6844 or marlon.hsu@gmail.com.

Youth Summit

As prescription drug abuse, underage drinking and rising gang violence threaten the lives of young people across the country, Washington teens are fighting back!  Last week, teens from all over the state gathered at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound to participate in the 2010 Spring Youth Forum, a statewide competition to present the best peer-based programs to combat drug and alcohol abuse, violence and other destructive behaviors. 

More than 40 teams competed for a range of great prizes by sharing their prevention strategies through slideshows, videos, costumes, music and role-playing snapshots of the prevention programs they developed and implemented in their own communities.  The students were judged by their peers and adult volunteers, who scored presentations based on five categories: innovation, sustainability, impact, presentation style/professionalism and collaboration/partnerships.

This event, a follow-up to our Fall Prevention Summit, is a successful combination of peer networking, education and prevention, and the kids have a fantastic time.  Not only do they enjoy the competition, their hard work is rewarded with an evening at the indoor water park, and they have the opportunity to spend the day with some outstanding role models. 

This year’s participants included Miss Washington, Devanni Patridge, and writer/actor/producer Tom Malloy.   In addition to his accomplished acting career, Tom has been an anti-drug speaker with the bureau of A Vision in Motion for over 6 years.  His message of “Making Positive Choices” has reached more than 100,000 kids.

This year, our Grand Prize winner was Stadium High School’s “Youth Leading Change.”   This team created a public service announcement aimed at adolescents that shows how abusing prescription drugs can impact a teenager’s personal and social life. The campaign is set to run for a month on Click! Cable TV.   Team members Anthony Wood, Jarquiz Walker, Emily Peterson, Tiffany Ewell, Sarah Cuddeback and Drew Johnson will receive a scholarship to attend the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America conference in Washington, DC.

Looking Ahead

For the first time since 2000, Washington state will host the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Summer Meeting.  In mid-June, Attorneys General from around the country will be travelling to Seattle for a few very busy days of work, meetings, expert panels and plenary sessions covering an array of legal issues of national interest.  The theme of this year’s meeting is “Using Technology to Protect the Public.”

I look forward to reporting on our work next month.    Meanwhile, I hope you and yours have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

Sincerely,
Rob McKenna
Attorney General


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