WA State Has Been Pilfering Auto Theft Prevention Fund
In 2007, the Washington State legislature created the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority or WATPA. Its mission was to fund, support and enhance efforts to prevent auto theft.
Legislators discover funding has been diverted to other uses
According to information from MyNorthwest.com, legislators have learned funding for this authority has been diverted to several other state agencies, and apparently it's been happening for several years.
GOP Senator Lynda Wilson (Vancouver) introduced SB (Senate Bill) 5672, which passed the State Senate 48-0. It's now in the State House. The bill would prevent funding from the authority to be diverted for other uses.
Auto Theft prevention funding was used by the Department of Corrections, and Children, Youth and Family Services
According to Wilson, who spoke with AM 770 KTTH Radio's Jason Rantz, legislators have not been able to find out who approved diverting auto theft prevention funding to other departments, but if her bill is signed into it will stop.
At a time when auto thefts are at an all-time high in WA State, the Authority is needed more than ever, say GOP legislators.
The Authority consists of ten members, who are appointed by the Governor. They include the Head of the Washington State Patrol, Kennewick Police Chief Chris Guerrero, Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese, as well as the Executive Director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to name a few.
Senator Wilson voiced concerns that if the state were able to 'siphon' money away from this Agency, what could keep them from doing this with other programs in our state?
The National Insurance Crime Bureau's 2022 report shows Washington state ranks 3rd in the nation in auto theft.
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