Marysville considers 3-strike drug law with mandatory jail time

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Marysville is considering a 3-strike ordinance that would mean a minimum of 30 days in jail for repeat offenders of drug and other public disorder crimes.

Mayor Jon Nehring told us the purpose of the ordinance is to get a handle on the drug crisis impacting all of Western Washington.

“And so, it is time for an intervention at that point. It’s time to say this isn’t working,” Nehring said.

Nehring says he came up with the proposal with the police chief and city attorney. He believes the ordinance would not only help those struggling with addiction but would also lower other crimes in the city as well.

“They are driven by the drug problem. If you were to eliminate the drug problem, you would almost eliminate these crimes from our community,” Nehring said.

If the ordinance were to pass the city council, those who are repeat offenders of public disorder crimes such as third-degree theft, vehicle prowling, trespassing, and public drug use would serve jail time.

If a person has three consecutive offenses, then it’s 30 days in jail. A five-time offender would get 60 days in jail, and a seven-time offender would get 90.

Nehring says those arrested for public drug use would have plenty of help at the jail.

“It’s a modern facility. It includes a nursing station. We bring nursing care into the facility. We have medical-assisted drug treatment in the facility,” Nehring said. “So, this is probably the closest thing to a detox center that these people will be able to get into quickly. We can get them medically dealt with. Detoxed to a degree where they can have a rational conversation about their future.”

Some people we spoke with said they feel if the treatment is at the jail like city leaders say, then this ordinance could do some good for the city.

“Because it is preventable to all of that,” said Lesley, who lives in Snohomish County.

But some people, like former Tulalip Police Officer John Harvey, feel the fentanyl crisis has gotten really out of hand throughout the state.

“This fentanyl is the worst drug ever. And there are so many people dying,” Harvey said.

While he understands cities and police departments are doing their best at the moment, he feels more could have been done a long time ago.

“I think a lot of police departments and the councils should’ve done something a long time ago instead of waiting,” Harvey said.

Nehring says he has shown the idea to the council, and as of now, seems to have support. He hopes they can look at the ordinance sometime in October.