Laws aimed at protecting police officers signed into law

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 NEWS

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on March 31, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 31 at 6:52 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Several new bills protecting police officers and their families were signed into law on Wednesday afternoon.

The laws also honor officers recently killed or injured in the line of duty.

Speaking to family members who lost loved ones serving the public, the governor called the day bittersweet.

"It's the least we can do," she said.

Some of the new laws signed by the governor come as a direct result of the shooting deaths of four Lakewood police officers last November.

Their killer, Maurice Clemmons, was a repeat offender, potentially facing a life sentence for other crimes. He was out on bail at the time of the shootings.

The dozen-plus law enforcement related laws signed into effect will mean enhanced death benefits for officers families, and bail will now always be set by judges.

One of the laws, the Jason McKissack Act, has nothing to do with Lakewood.

McKissack, while working as a Seattle police officer in 2008, was severely beaten while trying to break up a fight. He had to retire and lost his benefits, but he and his wife fought to have that changed to protect themselves and others.

Another law prohibits all potentially dangerous state hospital patients from going on outings.

Last summer a mentally ill killer, who was a patient at eastern state hospital, walked away from a field trip to the county fair in Spokane.

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