John McCroskey Commentary: If We’re ‘Reimagining’ Police, What Else Needs a Closer Look?


Over the past year, we’ve been treated with a new buzzword: “reimagine.” 

Specifically, much of the talk is about reimagining policing in America. I got to thinking about this, and I’m not against new things necessarily — if they are clearly thought out.

Years ago, as a young deputy, and before I’d ever heard of reimagining policing, there was a mental health system. It wasn’t perfect for sure, but then dealing with mental health issues is hard. It’s even harder now partly because of the rampant abuse of drugs often legalized by the whiny elected officials who then complain about mental health issues and associated costs.

Maybe they should reimagine that.

I remember responding to a guy who had held a child over a fire and burned his feet. Thankfully it was not a fatal result, but serious burns were involved. When we arrived, we found the guy in a house, mostly naked, wearing a torn T-shirt and making noises like a bird.

We took him to jail where he was promptly confirmed to have a mental illness (even my high school diploma recognized that) and transported to Western State Hospital for evaluation.

Sometime later, attorneys and courts along with the state Legislature “reimagined” people who have mental illnesses and concluded they should be allowed to be out on their own. This is simplistic of course due to space, but it captured my feelings at the time.

They “reimagined” the problem in part because of the cost, and in part because they decided these folks have a right to act out in public. 

You can guess who was tasked with dealing with these folks when they did act out — that’s right, the cops and jails. They didn’t want to, and shouldn’t have had to, but really “smart” people concluded this was a better course.

In my opinion, they were nuts.

Fast forward to today and the new “reimagining” of the role of police. Depending on who you talk to, under consideration and discussion is everything from eliminating police, defunding police, changing the role of police or just hating the police. 

But some of those agencies in a rush to defund the police have reconsidered the move they made because, just like too many elected officials who don’t think, they didn’t know what to replace them with. 


Now, some are trying to put their policing agencies back together. Good luck with that.

It seems like it would have been smart to think about that before making the decision to begin with.

But since “reimagining” is such a good idea for cops, let's “reimagine” other institutions and ideas as well.

Let's first reimagine education. It’s not much of a secret that public schools in a lot of areas are performing poorly. 

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t just blame the schools, teachers or parents, but rather the power of the teachers’ unions who fight choices. For those parents who want to get the best education for their kids, they are often trapped because the teacher unions fight against any options for parents in order to maintain their monopoly. 

Reimagining might mean the money each parent pays to send his or her child to school would cover any public, private, charter or Christian school the parent wanted. That seems fair and gives them choices. 

After all, it is their money.

Let's “reimagine” elections. I used to vote at the local fire station, but to vote, even if the ladies knew me, I had to produce identification, sign in, print my name, vote and put the ballot in the box.

Not one Russian interfered with that, and I don’t recall any problems except for King County finding enough unsecured ballots to finally defeat Dino Rossi after three recounts. Still, it was a much better system than what we have today.

There is much we could reimagine that “woke” folks don’t want to. But if any of this nonsense is on the table, then it all should be.


John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis, and can be contacted at