State Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, agreed the steps the Legislature and the State Patrol are taking need to be paired with additional policy changes, such as improving training. Lekanoff, an Alaska Native who served as the governmental affairs director of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community for more than 15 years, said she had her own brush with biased policing more than a year ago. She was pulled over one night as she and her daughter left the Swinomish longhouse, and the officer, who worked for a municipal police department, bullied her and made racially insensitive comments, Lekanoff said. At the time, she hadn’t yet been elected.
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