Washington has serious public safety challenges – the data show it, and we need a new approach. Every Washingtonian deserves the freedom to be safe from harm.

Bob Ferguson has a powerful record pursuing justice for victims, improving community safety, and holding violent criminals accountable. Bob also advanced smart criminal justice reforms, such as eliminating the rape kit backlog, banning solitary confinement for youth in detention, and helping to improve and expand law enforcement training.

County prosecutors from all political parties – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – ask Bob to handle cases. These prosecutors know cases are in good hands with Bob and his team, and that Bob will pursue accountability and justice on behalf of crime victims and survivors of violence.

Bob has a comprehensive plan to improve community safety in Washington through the following strategies:

  1. Increase the number of well-trained police officers and state troopers.

  2. Use the resources Bob recovered from opioid companies that fueled the epidemic to implement a fentanyl crisis response plan.

  3. Combat gun violence and mass shootings.

  4. Pursue and arrest at-large offenders with active arrest warrants for violating the terms of their community supervision – individuals who are too often falling through the system’s cracks.

  5. Equip law enforcement with improved technology and data, and invest in proven youth intervention strategies, to improve accountability, advance equity, and focus on crime prevention, not just crime response.

Bob’s Record on Public Safety
  • Bob supported sexual assault survivors by leading the coalition that eliminated the shameful rape kit backlog. The backlog consisted of more than 10,000 kits when Bob took office. These kits were located on shelves in evidence rooms across the state. When Bob took office, nobody in law enforcement even knew the size of the backlog. Eliminating the backlog allowed survivors’ voices to be heard. It also reduced the testing time on new sexual assault kits from as much as 14 months down to 45 days, and led to dozens of convictions.

  • Bob formed an Organized Crime Task Force to investigate and prosecute organized crime rings that endanger employee safety, damage our businesses and economy, and drive up costs for all Washingtonians. 

  • Bob and his team won nearly 100 Sexually Violent Predator trials keeping the “worst of the worst” sex offenders detained at McNeil Island. He passed two bipartisan bills strengthening Washington’s sexually violent predator law. 

  • Bob created a team in his office that employs innovative DNA techniques to solve sexual assaults and serious cold case crimes. This team has helped law enforcement solve three cold case homicides and sexual assaults.

  • Bob wrote and passed laws to combat mass shootings. He took the Trump Administration to court and won a nationwide victory that blocked the unchecked dissemination of untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed gun files.

  • Bob wrote and passed bipartisan laws to strengthen human trafficking laws and protect human trafficking survivors. 

  • Bob wrote and passed a nationally-recognized law increasing the penalties for elder abuse. 

  • Bob led the expansion of the state’s two Identity Theft Task Forces.

  • Bob created a Cold Case Unit with investigators focused on cases involving Missing Indigenous People. 

  • Bob won more than $1 billion to address the fentanyl epidemic in Washington. He fought for more resources from the federal government to combat fentanyl traffickers. 

  • Bob formed a Hate Crimes Task Force. He prosecuted a hate crime. And he drafted a plan to address rising domestic violent extremism that was called a “model for the nation.”

  • Bob helped increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders.

  • Bob wrote and passed a law increasing penalties for violent crimes committed in and around courthouses, improving protections for witnesses, family members, and others.

  • Bob and his team prosecuted the illegal use of force by police, wrote an improved model use-of-force and de-escalation policy adopted by most agencies, and advocated for more mental health resources for law enforcement.



Increase the number of law enforcement officers. Washington ranks last in the country in law enforcement personnel per capita. That must change. Washington has the fewest commissioned law enforcement officers per thousand residents since the state began tracking this data in 1980 – and fewer than any other state in the nation. This has resulted in a lack of resources for sexual assault and other violent crimes, impacting community trust in law enforcement and delaying or denying justice for victims. Bob supported legislation to increase the number of law enforcement officers in Washington. He also supported additional training resources for new police and sheriff's deputies, including a new training facility in Eastern Washington. Bob will increase the number of state and local law enforcement officers. 

As Governor, Bob will include in his budget a $100 million grant program to help local governments hire more officers. The grants will allow local law enforcement agencies to provide hiring bonuses to new recruits. The national average is 2.33 commissioned officers per thousand residents. Cities and counties that employ less than the national average will be eligible for the grants. 

The primary purpose of this grant will be to recruit new Washingtonians into the profession of law enforcement. Local programs tend to pit neighboring jurisdictions against each other. Meaningful reform requires strategies that bring new Washingtonians into the profession. This will require advancing diversity, providing additional training and mental health support, and strengthening trust between community and law enforcement. 

Hire Additional State Patrol Troopers. One of Bob’s first actions as Governor will include hiring additional Washington State Patrol Troopers. He will dedicate these Troopers to units targeting auto thefts and child sex predators. He will establish a new hate crimes unit and cold case unit in the State Patrol. And he will improve the Patrol’s centralized response to other prevalent and devastating crimes, including human trafficking, organized retail crime, and domestic violence. He will continue his leadership solving cold case homicides and sexual assaults. The targeted hires – paired with new, innovative, and evidence-based approaches – will reduce violent crime that threatens our safety and property crime that impairs our quality of life.

  • Increase resources for car thefts. Under Bob’s leadership, the Washington State Patrol will rejoin the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force, increasing resources to address auto thefts. He will also direct the State Patrol to work with the Fusion Center to target fences trafficking in stolen catalytic converters. He will ensure Washington innovates with technology and data to stop thefts of automobiles and catalytic converters, including GPS tags.

  • Expand cold case investigations. Bob has been successfully fighting for increased resources for cold case investigations in Washington for years. Only a handful of Washington law enforcement agencies have dedicated cold case units. As a result, these cases languish and go unsolved. Bob’s advocacy led to millions of dollars of new funding for cold cases in 2020. He launched an initiative in 2021 to fund new DNA analyses for cold case homicides and sexual assaults. Consequently, he helped law enforcement solve multiple cases around the state. In 2023, Bob created a cold case unit in his office focused on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People. Bob will partner with local governments to create dedicated cold case units across the state, and establish a centralized cold case unit in the Washington State Patrol to assist smaller jurisdictions without sufficient resources to create their own units. Utilizing innovative DNA techniques to solve cold cases will bring justice to victims and survivors and deter crime. 

  • Create a new hate crimes unit. Bob will address the rising hate crimes in Washington. In 2021, Washingtonians reported nearly 600 hate crimes – an increase of nearly 20% over 2020. These crimes are underreported. Bob is the first Attorney General in state history to prosecute a hate crime. He also convened a Hate Crimes Task Force that recommended that every law enforcement agency in the state designate a Hate Crimes liaison to work with victims and investigate crimes. Bob is working with Senator Javier Valdez and other legislators to create a Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents Tipline. As Governor, Bob will work to increase resources for hate crimes investigations. He will establish a centralized hate crimes unit in the State Patrol with a trained, designated hate crimes liaison who can work with survivors and assist local governments with investigations.  

  • Expand child sex predator stings. Bob partners with the Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement to apprehend and prosecute dozens of individuals who attempt to rape minors. These stings are led by State Patrol detectives posing as minors, or alternatively, as minors’ guardians selling minors for sex. As Governor, Bob will protect our communities from child sex predators by conducting additional sting operations. He will work with the Attorney General’s Office to assist local prosecutors with these cases.

  • Invest resources in organized retail crime investigations and prosecutions. In 2022, Bob created an Organized Retail Crime Task Force in his office. Bob’s task force focuses on sophisticated crimes committed by individuals or teams of individuals who steal not for personal use, but for resale on the secondary market, often to unwitting consumers. These are not petty thefts. These crimes endanger workers and customers, damage our economy and businesses, and increase costs for Washington families. Often these organized crime rings are run by human traffickers taking advantage of individuals suffering from substance use disorder. Cannabis businesses are often the targets of these organized crimes. The crimes cross multiple jurisdictions, and investigations are complicated and resource-intensive. Bob’s Task Force highlighted the stark need for more law enforcement resources in this space. He will make it a priority to create an investigative unit in the State Patrol that will work with the Organized Crime Task Force in the Attorney General’s Office to protect workers and businesses and hold those who engage in organized crimes accountable.

  • Assist sexual assault and domestic violence investigations and prosecutions. Bob will ensure that every sexual assault and domestic violence survivor is treated with dignity, and every reported sexual assault and domestic violence case is promptly investigated. Bob successfully increased resources for sexual assault investigations and prosecutions. He invested resources to prosecute sexual predators, eliminate the sexual assault kit backlog, drastically reduce the testing backlog, expand trauma-informed, victim-centered training, and work towards justice for survivors – but there is much more work to do. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that sexual assault occurs every 43 seconds in the United States. The impacts of these crimes are devastating: 3 in 4 sexual assault survivors experience significant impacts in the years that follow. As Governor, Bob will center survivors and ensure their voices are heard.

  • Support and improve the state crime lab and toxicology lab. Bob will also hire additional scientists in state labs and arm them with the first-class training and technology. As part of his leadership eliminating the state’s sexual assault kit backlog, Bob vastly improved testing times at the state crime labs.  Thanks in part to his leadership, the testing time for a sexual assault kit has gone down from as much as 14 months to just 45 days. As Governor, Bob will continue pursuing improvements in testing time for all DNA evidence. He will also focus additional resources to reform the state’s toxicology lab, which will improve public safety by supporting efforts to prosecute repeat drunk drivers and drug traffickers. 

  • Increase Trooper pay. Increasing the number of State Patrol Troopers will require addressing recruitment and retention challenges. A 2020 salary survey conducted by the Washington Office of Financial Management revealed that Washington State Patrol Troopers were paid 5% less than their peers in local law enforcement offices. Bob supported landmark pay-increase legislation for State Patrol Troopers, signed by Governor Inslee in 2016. Bob is committed to ensuring that Trooper pay is equivalent to their peer agencies in order to lead the top law enforcement office in the state. 

Rebuild trust and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the community. Law enforcement plays a critical role in responding to crime and keeping communities safe. A strong foundation of trust within the communities they serve is necessary for law enforcement to do their job. As Governor, Bob will build upon his work within the Criminal Justice Training Commission to expand and improve training for community-based policing, expanding co-response and non-armed responders rooted in de-escalation and behavioral health training, and improve data collection and reporting to improve public trust. He will also use the bully pulpit of his office to highlight good works by law enforcement across the state.

Provide additional investments in training and community-based policing. As a Commissioner with the Criminal Justice Training Commission, Bob helped adopt landmark rules improving training for Washington law enforcement officers. Bob supported expanded training for de-escalation and crisis intervention, and required that all officers receive training on implicit bias. Bob is working to increase resources to the Criminal Justice Training Commission to improve training opportunities for new and existing law enforcement. He will also work with Washington sheriffs and police chiefs to ensure that this training is being incorporated into supplemental local training, and that local agencies are training peace officers to interact with the communities they serve as guardians, not warriors.

Invest in Homes for Heroes to aid recruitment and retention of Washington law enforcement officers. Bob will work to address both our affordable housing crisis and the challenges presented by vacancies in law enforcement by supporting a Homes for Heroes program that will expand to assist all first-time home buyers who serve their communities as first responders, law enforcement, 911 dispatchers, service members, nurses, teachers, child care workers, and social workers, and make less than the median income. These individuals will receive no-interest loans to assist with the down payments and closing costs on their first home. This will improve recruitment and retention efforts in law enforcement, and demonstrate appreciation for the sacrifices of our essential public servants.

Support mental health resources for law enforcement officers. As Attorney General, Bob supported increased federal funding for mental health and PTSD for law enforcement, fire fighters, and other first responders. Every day public safety officers, including police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and others, work to maintain the safety, health, and well-being of the communities they serve. They regularly respond to stressful and potentially traumatic situations, often putting their own lives in danger. As Governor, Bob will continue to advocate for more mental health resources for first responders.

Build up non-law enforcement crisis response. As Governor, Bob will increase the number of designated crisis responders in the state, and work to better integrate them with law enforcement and first responders. Better integration and collaboration among designated crisis responders and law enforcement will improve outcomes by ensuring that trained professionals are on hand to respond and avoid unnecessarily escalating certain behavioral health challenges. Bob will work to ensure that every large- and medium-sized city has civilian peer advocate teams that can serve as the initial community response to certain emergencies where the public is not imminently at risk. This will allow law enforcement personnel to focus on violent crimes.


Deploy a statewide, interagency crisis response unit to tackle the fentanyl crisis. Bob’s opioid initiative has resulted in more than $1 billion for Washington to combat the fentanyl epidemic. These resources will go to every community in the state. As Governor, Bob will convene a statewide, interdepartmental crisis response unit to tackle the fentanyl crisis plaguing too many communities and families. By bringing together state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, experts in diversion and treatment, and studying best practices for intervention and prevention, Bob will crack down on the illegal distribution and sale of fentanyl and help people into recovery and treatment. This emergency response plan is only one component of a holistic plan Bob will enact to address Washingtonians’ behavioral health crisis.

Combat fentanyl trafficking and increase funding for multijurisdictional drug task forces. Washington hosts 16 multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces that receive a combination of state, federal, and local funding. As Governor, one of his top public safety priorities will include increasing state funding for these task forces’ anti-trafficking efforts and advocating for additional federal resources.

Improve treatment options for individuals in custody and on community supervision. Washington has 50 non-tribal, adult jails. Most, but not all, screen for opioid use disorder, but only 60 percent have the capability of prescribing medication to treat opioid use disorder – even when the individual arrived with an existing prescription. As Governor, Bob will work with local government and the State Health Care Authority to increase the number of jails that screen for opioid use disorder and prescribe treatment for those who need it.

Increase first responders, and support those on the front lines of the crisis. The resources Bob recovered by holding accountable the opioid manufacturers and distributors who fueled the opioid epidemic must be used to combat the opioid epidemic. Bob ensured that these resources can be used to hire additional first responders on the front lines of the crisis. As Governor, Bob will convene all the necessary parties to ensure that Washington provides critical support for all Washingtonians with the burden of serving on the front lines of the crisis, including fire fighters, EMS professionals, nurses, and other behavioral health specialists and medical professionals who are struggling under the mental and professional strain of the epidemic.

Improve treatment and increase crisis facilities. When a person in crisis arrives at a crisis facility, a multidisciplinary team composed of mental health professionals, peer specialists, behavioral health case managers, substance use professionals, and medical staff help stabilize them, in a voluntary short-term inpatient setting. King County voters recently adopted a measure to build five Crisis Facilities, and Bob plans to implement a long-term plan to advance this reform statewide so that every Washingtonian and their family has a resource that is not a hospital and a number one behavioral health facility that is not their county jail. They will also immediately work to refer participants to long-term services and possibly housing, tailored to each person’s needs. This will reduce the burden on hospitals and jails and ensure individuals get the care they need.


Reduce and prevent gun violence. Bob is leading the fight to combat gun violence and mass shootings in Washington state. He prevented the unchecked dissemination of untraceable and undetectable ghost guns, banned the sale of high-capacity magazines, held firearm dealers accountable when they broke the law, and defended Washington’s universal background check law from the gun lobby’s legal challenge. As Governor, Bob will continue pursuing common sense gun reforms to save lives and improve community safety.

Keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. As Governor, Bob will direct the State Patrol to establish the first state firearm buy-back program. He will oversee the successful implementation of the state’s centralized background check system. He will also invest in programs that reduce tragedies and are effective in suicide prevention. And he will support resources for training and implementation of existing laws related to orders of surrender of weapons for domestic violence offenders.

Support proven community-based violence intervention programs. Bob will bring together governments, non-profits, and philanthropic organizations in partnership to support proven, community-based youth intervention strategies to break the cycle of violence and ensure appropriate oversight and accountability of these investments.


Pursue individuals with active warrants for violating the terms of their community custody. In June 2022, a Spokane police officer was shot in a drive-by shooting by an individual who had an active warrant for violating the terms of his community custody. Bob will work to ensure this never happens again.

Judges issue arrest warrants that give law enforcement permission to detain and arrest individuals. Individuals who are released into the community following a conviction and prison sentence must abide by certain conditions. Arrest warrants are issued when they abscond, fail to report, or otherwise violate the terms of their community supervision. In 2020, more than 30,000 warrants were issued for offenders under the supervision of the Department of Corrections for absconding or failing to report. Too many of these potentially dangerous individuals are falling through the cracks due to insufficient resources. The state has a duty to hold these individuals accountable when they violate the terms of their community supervision. The Department of Corrections admits that it does not actively pursue all active warrants of offenders who have violated the terms of their supervision. That’s unacceptable.

As Attorney General, Bob helped reform a patchwork system that allowed thousands of offenders to fall through the cracks of the system and avoid submitting a court-ordered DNA sample following a conviction. That’s the leadership he will take to this similar challenge. One of Bob’s top priorities will be to close loopholes and prioritize resources to ensure that offenders in the community who fail to report are quickly located and arrested.

Bob’s first budget will include funding to hire an estimated 40 new corrections employees in the Community Response Unit that is responsible for pursuing these individuals with active warrants and returning them to custody. This will double the current size of the Department of Corrections Community Response Unit. The Department estimates that these resources, which will cost an estimated $6 million per year, will allow it to pursue every active warrant and bring the offenders back into custody. 

These new resources will improve public safety and ultimately save the public money. Taxpayers are often responsible for paying economic damages when individuals under the supervision of the Department of Corrections commit crimes. Over time this strengthened Unit will deter community supervision violations and reduce the number of offenders who abscond.


Use a data-driven approach to interrupt cycles of violence and prevent crime. Bob is leading the effort to improve data related to Washington’s criminal legal system. Like many states across the country, the lack of access to timely and accurate criminal justice data is an issue for Washington. Bob will improve and expand public access to law enforcement data, including data connected to pursuits, traffic stops, and assaults on officers. Now more than ever, Washington must commit to making accessible data a permanent reality across the criminal justice system. Smarter criminal justice policy requires better data — data that are up to date, consistently available, and easy to understand and utilize. This will improve our understanding of crime in Washington and allow state and local agencies to target resources to where they are most needed.

Achieve universal adoption of police body-cameras. Most Washington state law enforcement agencies do not equip their agencies with body-worn cameras. The related data storage costs are expensive and daunting to smaller agencies, but a recent University of Chicago Study revealed that using these cameras saves costs by reducing the time necessary to investigate complaints. Body-worn cameras improve police accountability and transparency. They also protect law enforcement. In 2022, 2,375 assaults were reported against Washington law enforcement officers. Bob will help local agencies apply for available federal funding and ensure that funding is available to close the gap and ensure all Washington officers are equipped with body-worn cameras.  

Fund violence intervention programs and community-based trauma centers. Nobody knows a community better than its residents. Community members can leverage personal relationships to help end cycles of violence. Bob will prioritize proven intervention programs to support young people most likely to become prey to cyclical violence, as both perpetrators and victims. In addition to anti-violence organizations that focus on prevention, Bob will work with communities to provide effective responses to violent crime. He will work with Washington hospitals to support community-based trauma centers that will provide medical attention as well as social support, referrals for substance use disorder treatment, and counseling for crime victims. As Governor, Bob will continue working with community members to develop and expand innovative solutions focused on preventing crime, not just responding to it.

Increase access to employment opportunities upon release from incarceration. As Governor, Bob will connect individuals reentering society with greater opportunities for employment so they can avoid hopelessness, which can lead to reoffending. The Washington State Ironworkers have implemented an innovative program to connect women incarcerated in the Washington Corrections Center for Women to the trades, with tremendous success. Bob will support these opportunities, which will ensure that all Washingtonians, including incarcerated individuals who repaid their debt to society, can secure good jobs in a changing economy that will provide a tangible benefit for all Washingtonians. 

Reduce recidivism by investing in restorative justice infrastructure and restorative prevention for youth. "Restorative justice" means practices, policies, and programs informed by and sensitive to the needs of crime victims that are designed to encourage offenders to accept responsibility for repairing the harm they caused. Bob’s work leading the Hate Crimes Task Force resulted in a report on restorative justice from Dr. Katherine Beckett at the University of Washington. Implemented effectively, restorative justice can serve both the victim and the offender of the crime. Meaningful apologies are not a substitute for accountability, but they can provide healing for both parties, especially in instances of youth-on-youth crime. Bob will work with the Legislature to support this work. 

Expand pretrial service programs across the state. This is a smart criminal justice reform that will ultimately save law enforcement resources. Pretrial service programs are critical to helping vulnerable individuals appear at their court dates. Improved participation will reduce court backlogs and improve the efficiency of the justice system. Bob will work to implement key recommendations of the Pretrial Reform Task Force, including improved transportation service and court reminders. The available research consistently shows that pretrial court date reminders through texts, emails, mail or phone calls are an effective method to reduce the risk of failure to appear, and should be available to all defendants. Once these reforms are implemented, Bob will work with the courts, the Legislature, and county prosecutors to improve accountability for individuals who repeatedly fail to appear for their court dates.


1 Press Release, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, July 20, 2022. CIW 2021 Media Release 072022.pdf (waspc.org)

2 HB 1446 (2023)

3 “Washington State Patrol stepping away from Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force,” Fox 13 Seattle, December 16, 2022.  Washington State Patrol stepping away from Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force (fox13seattle.com)

4 Press Release, Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, July 20, 2022. CIW 2021 Media Release 072022.pdf (waspc.org)

5 “Burien Mayor was victim of a hate crime, says Attorney General’s Office,” Seattle Times, August 23, 2019. Burien mayor was victim of a hate crime, says state Attorney General’s Office | The Seattle Times

6 Press Release, Washington Attorney General’s Office, June 10, 2022. Ellensburg defendant sentenced to nearly six years in prison in first child rape conspiracy prosecution by Attorney General’s Office | Washington State

7 2022 Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Best Practices Advisory Group Annual Report to the Legislature, December 2022. 2022 SAFE Report.pdf (agportal-s3bucket.s3.amazonaws.com)

8 King County Auditor’s Report, “Sex Offense Cases: Some Victims and their Cases may be Harmed by Gaps,” July 22, 2020. sai-2020.ashx (kingcounty.gov)

9 2020 Washington State Patrol Compensation Survey, Office of Financial Management. Washington State Patrol Compensation Survey

10 “Inslee Signs Bill Giving a Pay Raise to State Patrol Troopers,” Seattle Times, March 25, 2016.  Inslee signs bill giving a raise to State Patrol troopers | The Seattle Times

11 “An Inside Look at Washington State’s Policing and Race Curriculum for Recruits,” WBUR, May 25, 2021. An Inside Look At Washington State's Policing And Race Curriculum For Recruits | Here & Now (wbur.org)

12 National Association of Attorneys General letter, April 22, 2022. Public Safety Officer Support Act - NAAG Letter - Final.pdf (agportal-s3bucket.s3.amazonaws.com)

13 “Police: One Officer shot, seriously injured after reports of multiple drive-by shootings in northeast Spokane,” The Spokesman-Review, June 26, 2022. Police: One officer shot, seriously injured after reports of multiple drive-by shootings in northeast Spokane | The Spokesman-Review

14 Fiscal Note for SSB 5226

15 “Most Washington Law Enforcement Agencies Don’t Use Body or Dash Cameras, KING 5 Investigation Finds,” KING 5, November 24, 2020.  Most Washington law enforcement agencies don’t use body or dash cameras, KING 5 investigation finds | king5.com

16 “Body-Worn Cameras in Policing: Benefits and Costs,” Williams et al., March 25, 2021. Williams+et+al_Body-Worn+Cameras_03_25 - DocumentCloud

17 Crime in Washington 2022 Annual Report, Washington Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, Crime in Washington 2022-compressed.pdf (waspc.org)

18 “Developing Restorative Justice as a Response to Hate Crime: A Proposal,” Katherine Beckett and Steve Herbert, University of Washington, December 1, 2021. Microsoft Word - Restorative Justice as a Response to Hate Crime_FINAL.docx (wa.gov)

19 Pretrial Reform Task Force Final Report, February 2019. Pretrial Reform Task Force (wa.gov)