Ron Smith, SPOG president, on Capitol Hill.
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  • SPOG President Ron Smith
We really wanted to like Ron Smith, the new president of the Seattle Police Officer's Guild, who took over leadership of SPD's largest union earlier this year.

But in this interview with KIRO Radio's Dori Monson this morning, he sounds an awful lot like Rich "total dick" O'Neill, his predecessor.

Here's some of what Smith had to say about the officer under investigation for writing nearly 80 percent of all tickets for smoking pot this year. (Emphasis added.)

He’s been on for 25 years. He works downtown on a mountain bike. And nobody can hold a candle to him...

So he wrote 80 percent of the tickets. Anybody could of wrote 80 percent of the tickets...He’s just that proactive of an officer. He works, works, works, works. He is respected by his peers and better than that, he is respected by the criminal element, if you will, downtown...

I think it’s a gross overreaction here.

The Times headline makes it sound like he’s been reassigned because of 80% of tickets… this is pertaining to these snarky comments that he probably shouldn’t have put there.

We don’t know how many times they’ve [the people ticketed] been contacted before. They’re making a big deal of the fact that he wrote 63 of these tickets. Well how come more weren’t written? Maybe it’s because the rank and file in this department has no confidence—zero, none—that the city attorney’s office will do anything with ‘em.

Monson chimed in and said he doesn't believe the officer—who the Seattle Times identified as SPD veteran Randy Jokela, nicknamed "The Joker," according to Smith—wrote "an exorbitant amount" of tickets, since he was patrolling 2nd Avenue. "It’s become one of the most dangerous places in the city," Monson claimed. "He is down there on a mountain bike on very steep hills with very crazy criminals. I just think it’s re-damn-diculous…that the Chief of police here in Seattle, she’s going to make her mark by going after this particular case on the police blog. I’m dumbfounded by it, Ron."

Smith responded: "Personally, what I think he should be allowed to do is write a check to his favorite charity, and call it good. Just like the city attorney."

That's a reference to when Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes bought a bag of weed to celebrate the first day of Washington's legalized recreational pot market, then apologized for bringing it onto city premises and donated $3,000 to the Downtown Emergency Service Center.

After some more concern-trolling of new SPD chief Kathleen O'Toole by Monson, Smith addressed the recent officer-involved shooting at Gasworks Park and the Department of Justice's reforms to SPD's use of force rules:

At the end of the day…we are required no matter what type of force is used, that it be reasonable and necessary. And especially now with the policies put in place pursuant to the DOJ settlement agreement, a 75 page policy dealing with use of force, you can bet officers are not thinking not once, twice, three times, but four times. And all I can tell you is that that sets up a situation where officers and the public can be hurt.

Smith's comments echo the rhetoric of a lawsuit filed in May against the DOJ and the City by 126 Seattle police officers to block the new use of force regulations.