New Police Reform Laws in Washington State

But many law enforcement officials said the changes made in 2021 went too far — and lawmakers are now trying to amend those new police laws to address some of the concerns they`ve heard from police. The links to the House and Senate bills in this article are the ones that led to the new laws. These will be included in the Revised Washington Code (WCR), but the new RCW section numbers were not available at the time of writing. All the laws described here were passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor. Goodman is sponsoring HB 2037, which would allow police to use physical force when people escape from this short pre-trial detention. When Joseph spoke on Capitol Hill Thursday, behind her hung the names of more than three dozen Washington residents who were killed by police. To his left, on a wooden box in the shape of a coffin, someone had scribbled a message in bright red. “Their blood will stick to your hands,” he said. “The problem is that many people are arrested, they move away or flee, they do not hold. And the police are not free right now to get their hands on them or physically interact with them to prevent them from escaping,” he said.

At the committee`s hearing Tuesday, Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone told the committee that he supports many of the state`s new police reform laws, but that aspect went too far. RELATED: WA Lawmakers Outline 2 Quick Solutions For New Police Laws A fourth measure, House Bill 1788, would restore police`s ability to engage in certain car pursuits, which lawmakers have severely restricted over the past year. While Republicans offered real solutions and critical votes, Democrats managed to address some of the above issues during the 2022 legislature. But not all. One of the biggest disappointments and scenarios of the 2022 legislature is the failure of Democrats to pass Senate Bill 5919 and restore some of the power for police officers to engage in car chases on reasonable suspicion. House Republicans voted in favor of Senate Bill 5919 and proposed a stronger measure, House Bill 1788, as an alternative. The Democrats chose to do nothing. The status quo will continue to encourage criminals and increase crime. “Because Bennie fled, police under HB 2037 would have the power to use force to arrest him,” she said. “I think the House Bill 2037 is an invitation to police abuse. Legislators should protect communities from unnecessary violence and not create more opportunities for police to harm people.

But advocates who lobbied for last year`s police reform laws don`t want them watered down. House Republicans believe that police officers have already been held at a very high level, but they should not be held at an impossible level. A large majority of police officers are hard-working, dedicated and honourable professionals. And they risk their lives every day to protect our communities. If a police officer does not act in accordance with law enforcement expectations, he or she should be held accountable. Congressman Jesse Johnson, who supports HB 2037, said it was important to note that even under the new proposal, police would only be able to use force during these temporary investigative checks if someone fled. Seattle is by far the largest city in Washington. Last year, the Seattle City Council decided to defuse its $3 million police department, with the money going to social programs.

The mayor of Seattle vetoed the relocation, but his veto was overturned by the council. Six months later, the police department lost 250 officers and Seattle had six shootings in one weekend. The mayor is asking for more police officers, but it will be even harder to get more police officers on the streets of Seattle and other Washington cities. All of the Washington officers I interviewed said that some of their officers were considering early retirement or relocation in light of these new laws that could hamper the careers of well-meaning officers. The Washington legislature may be persuaded to reconsider some of these reforms at its next meeting. “I had to think long and hard about it because we hear all the time when someone gets hit in a police car because they didn`t comply or resist arrest or something like that,” Johnson said. But this is not the case; It literally says that the police can take someone into custody and have the opportunity to continue the investigation without the person leaving. Tim Dees is an author, editor, trainer and former law enforcement officer.

After 15 years as a police officer with the Reno Police Department and elsewhere in northern Nevada, Tim taught criminal justice as a full-time professor and instructor at colleges in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia and Oregon. He also served as the regional training coordinator for the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and provided training to 65 criminal justice agencies in central and eastern Oregon. Tim has written over 800 articles for almost every national law enforcement publication in the United States. He is the author of The Truth About Cops, a collection of responses written for Quora.com. He now writes about police applications of technology in law enforcement from his home in southeastern Washington. Tim holds a bachelor`s degree in life sciences from San Jose State University, a master`s degree in criminal justice from the University of Alabama, and a certified protection professional diploma from ASIS International. It can be carried out in tim@timdees.com. The measure, House Bill 2037, makes clear that police can use force to prevent people from escaping remand known as Terry Stops. Officials said restrictions passed by lawmakers in 2021 had not made them able to do so, meaning potential suspects could simply leave. Johnson said other measures put forward this year would maintain most of last year`s protections, including requiring officers to do their due diligence and try to de-escalate the situation before using force. Johnson was the lead sponsor of two of the most comprehensive police reform measures passed last year, House Bill 1054 and House Bill 1310. The attorney general`s office also said the use of the crime of obstruction of justice to justify the use of physical force by authorities against fugitive suspects was a bad idea and that last year`s law was unlikely to authorize last year`s law.

That`s at odds with what several Democratic lawmakers, including Goodman and Johnson, proposed last year. Sonia Joseph wants to make sure Washington state lawmakers don`t forget her son`s story. Senate Bill 5051 increases the membership of the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) from 16 to 21 by adding additional civilian members, placing the number of law enforcement officers on the commission below a 50% majority. The Bill gives the CJTC new discretion to unilaterally suspend and revoke officer certification, reduces the burden of proof, and expands the grounds for mandatory removal and suspension of a police officer. It gives unparalleled authority over the careers and lives of law enforcement officers to a commission that can be controlled by people who may not understand the profession and responsibilities of law enforcement officers. This legislation endangers the lives of our police officers and the safety of our communities. The bill passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 54 to 43. Signed by the Governor.

This “misconduct” clause may be more problematic than it seems at first glance. A municipal police supervisor interviewed for this article illustrated this with a hypothetical scenario. “Let`s say I`m fighting a suspect and a Washington State Patrol soldier approaches to help me. He gets out of his car, runs to my rescue and leaves his hat in the car. WSP soldiers must wear their hats when outside the car. It is against their policy to work without a hat. Is this a “misconduct” that I should report? Any violation of ministry policies can be considered “misconduct,” ranging from a single case to the use of lethal force. In the wake of widespread protests for police accountability in 2020 in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, lawmakers in Washington passed a series of reforms that cover everything from background checks officers conduct before they are hired to circumstances in which they can be decertified. Earlier this month, Inslee signed two more bills that set out parts of last year`s police reform package. One made it clear that officers can use force to stop or transport people in behavioural crisis situations, while the other corrected an oversight that appeared to inadvertently prohibit police services from possessing certain less lethal weapons.

The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability, of which Joseph is a member, opposes the measure to allow more vehicle pursuits, HB 1788, as well as Goodman`s measure to have police use physical force if someone flees from an investigative stay, HB 2037.