Sunday, June 26, 2022
June 26, 2022

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Better policing, COVID still here

The Columbian

Cheers: To improved policing. The Vancouver Police Department has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice after failing to facilitate communication with a deaf woman who was a suspect. The woman, who will receive $30,000, claimed that officers had her minor daughter act as an interpreter and handcuffed the woman behind her back, preventing communication through sign language or writing.

Cheers are not warranted because police violated the woman’s civil rights or will pay a settlement, but because the department will work to better serve the community. “We have fully cooperated with the Department of Justice and will continue to implement the terms of the settlement agreement,” said Assistant Chief Jeff Mori, who has been selected to take over as chief this summer. That can lead to better policing for all of us.

Jeers: To increasing COVID-19 infections. State officials are urging residents to wear indoor masks, particularly in crowded spaces with poor ventilation. “This is a time for you to be wearing a well-fitted appropriate mask to be able to protect yourself and those around you,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the state’s secretary of health.

The decision is a result of increasing infection rates; Gov. Jay Inslee and Lt. Gov. Denny Heck are among those who have tested positive this week. The mask suggestion is not a mandate like those issued during previous coronavirus outbreaks, but it is a reminder that COVID remains a threat. Recent reports indicate the rate of infection throughout the state is six times what it was in March.

Cheers: To protecting animals. The Columbian recently reported that Clark County Animal Protection and Control is cracking down on cases of animal cruelty, and now comes a story that a Vancouver couple have each been charged with eight counts of cruelty. In the latest case, the couple had five dogs, three cats, rabbits, hamsters and other animals in their apartment, and a police detective wrote that he observed “extremely unfit living conditions.”

The animal protection department has “a new team of officers,” The Columbian reports, allowing officials to more effectively respond to cases of suspected cruelty. The department also has tips for animal care and for reporting a concern. Cheers go to efforts to protect animals.

Jeers: To avian flu. As a precautionary measure, some birds at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo have been moved out of public view during an avian flu outbreak, and walk-through aviaries have been closed. “This is an alarming disease for birds with a high mortality rate which requires proactive measures,” one official said. The highly contagious strain of avian flu has been reported throughout Washington and in parts of Oregon. Officials at the Oregon Zoo outside Portland have not announced any changes, but say they are watching the progression of the disease.

For birds in the wild, authorities recommend keeping bird feeders clean and removing them if you see sick or dead birds. And don’t feed ducks or geese in parks or near wetlands.

Cheers: To summer in the park. City of Vancouver officials have turned on the spigot at a water feature in Esther Short Park, near the corner of West Sixth and Columbia streets. At the same time, work to rebuild a playground in the park will begin in June and is expected to be completed by fall. The previous playground was destroyed by arson in January.

Esther Short Park is Vancouver’s public living room. Features that draw visitors and provide children with a place to frolic add to our region’s sense of community.

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