NOTE FROM 420LEAKS: After hearing his testimony in front of state legislators in March, we decided to attend Officer Jung’s court hearing in his lawsuit against the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) in June.
We wish to thank Officer Jung for having the courage to come forward and take his battle to the courts. Although he lost in Pierce County Superior Court, we hope he appeals the ruling as his evidence is overwhelming, to say the least.
We have started a new folder on the 420leaks database specific to his case. New files will be added as they become available. You can view those files here, including the transcript of the last court hearing.
Having said that, we wish the agency would be disolved or just go back to being a commercial regulatory agency and stop trying to become police officers.
We have watched the WSLCB beg the state legislators for full police powers after i502 passed in 2012. The legislators turned them down every time. Now they have a dubious win in court.
It changes the nature of the agency relationship to their licensees and the public in ways we did not vote for with our medical or adult use cannabis laws.
It is well beyond time to remove it from the controlled substances act completely. And to take this out of the hands of this agency completely.
The story told by Officer Jung emphatically shows us the level of corruption on the inside, and it begins at the top levels of leadership.
They are an agency that has found itself on the receiving end of a cash windfall, thanks to cannabis regulation and enforcement. It is time for this state to reign them in, if not completely destroy them by absorbing their duties into the other regulatory, without the police state goon squads.
What happens if one of these officers who don’t have the proper training has a weapon accidently discharge, or worse, actually shoots someone?
In his own words: WSLCB Officer and Whistleblower John Jung
I’ve been a liquor enforcement officer (LEO) for the past 11 years with Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB).
However, in recent years, I have noticed what I consider to be unethical and unlawful acts against the public; from inconsistent application of rules to preferential treatment of licensees, but the most notable problem being LEOs without proper police training being passed off as if they are peace officers, contrary to the requirement of RCW 43.101.095.
After Citizen Review Panel investigation into WSLCB’s problematic enforcement activities, it was concluded that WSLCB needed to apply more consistent enforcement practices and meet the state law enforcement training standards by enrolling all new LEOs to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (known as BLEA) at the Criminal Justice Training Commission.
This was a part of the accountability assessment from the investigation findings. WSLCB acknowledged that more consistent standard training will result in more responsible LEOs for the division. With funding approved, WSLCB initiated BLEA training for all new recruits.
Unfortunately for WSLCB, between 2002-2007, retention of LCB officers who had completed BLEA training had a critically high turnover rate during that period of 43 officers, nearly 50%.
In fact, nearly 80% of the candidates left the agency with full law enforcement credentials to go to other agencies for better working conditions and pay.
To evade this problem, WSLCB simply changed the training requirement to an abbreviated 440-hour version of BLEA or sent recruits to Idaho police academy, which limited LEOs ability to transfer as laterals to other agencies.
Essentially WSLCB created a sub-standard police training for recruits, thereby not meeting the requirement of being Washington Peace Officers (RCW 43.101.095) but yet calling them peace officers.
Soon after Washington state privatized liquor sales and legalized marijuana, the agency met with many challenges to this new role and responsibilities, according to an internal agency document.
Legislatively, the agency attempted year after year to expand LEOs authority including “grandfathering” existing LEOs to peace officer status in order to alleviate these legal challenges.
Unfortunately, it never gained enough support to expand and legalize LEOs as peace officers.
However, in late 2017, the agency, without legislative action, implemented policies not only identifying LEOs as peace officers but also encroached into general authority law enforcement activities.
These troubling actions have left me with doubts about the agency’s integrity, including misinformation in LEOs annual performance evaluation forms which indicate as if LEOs attended and completed BLEA training regardless of their previous training records.
Anyone in the public who gains access to these files will assume all LEOs are peace officers since the documents note completion of BLEA training.
This is nothing more than a deception.
Although many LEOs are aware of this troubling decision by the agency yet many remain silent in fear of retaliation.
I, too, could’ve remained silent about this action and allow this agency to continue to misuse its authority against the public.
However, my personal integrity is greater than the fear of retaliation and that’s why I’ve decided to speak out in order to hold this agency accountable and transparent because the public deserves more.
My claim against the state isn’t about me wanting more training, rather it is about an equal opportunity of training like other LEOs, but more importantly it is about following the law, RCW 43.101.095.
As an enforcement agency, LCB has the obligation to be held at higher standards when it comes to respecting and enforcing laws of this state.
-John Jung, WSLCB Enforcement Officer