Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Officer's Death Has Ripple Effect To Police Recruits, Families

Tacoma Police Department
Officer Reginald ''Jake'' Gutierrez was a 17-year veteran of the Tacoma Police Department

Police across the Northwest and the country are mourning the shooting death of Tacoma police officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. He was a 17-year veteran of the department. His death is also having an effect on police recruits.

Currently about 280 recruits are going through basic training at Washington’s Criminal Justice Training Commission in Burien. Former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, who runs the academy, said in the wake of the Tacoma officer’s death, her basic training commander called a meeting of all the recruits.

“To bring them together like a family and talk about this horrendous loss,” Rawr said.

Rahr said a line-of-duty death so close to home brings to the forefront the worst fears of recruits and their families.

“Most recruits have great support from their families and loved ones, but some of the recruits have folks at home that aren’t crazy about them taking a job where they’re risking their life and so this just makes it harder,” she said.

Rahr said the academy works to give police recruits the skills they need to reduce the risks. But she added that everyone knows it’s a job that can end in death.

Rahr noted Gutierrez's death came just days after the seven-year anniversary of the shooting deaths of four Lakewood police officers in a coffee shop and three days before the 10th anniversary of the killing of King County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Cox.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Gutierrez is the first line-of-duty death in Washington in 2016. In Oregon, Sgt. Jason Goodding of the Seaside Police Department was shot to death in February.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."