3060 Willamette Drive NE Lacey, WA 98516 360-486-2380 (Phone) 360-486-2381 (Fax) www.waspc.org March 29, 2022 Greetings from your Executive Director: First and foremost, our thoughts are with the Everett Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and the Edmonds Police Department as each mourns officers lost recently. We will pass along memorial and other information as we receive it and plans are finalized. Just having to list three separate agencies having suffered these unimaginable losses in such a short time is numbing. I know many are feeling raw and exhausted, as are the teams you lead. We keep taking hit after hit, and you are each there to step up and continue to be “the rock”, leading and managing through all of it. At the same time, your communities are very concerned about public safety and the effects of rising crime, and the effects on neighborhoods, businesses, and trust in government. Please know it is acknowledged and appreciated. Here is another reminder from me to you: take care of yourselves, and make sure you monitor how you are doing while you take care of your agencies and communities. I mean it. The 2022 legislative session ended on March 10 and I’d like to share an assessment on where we are, big picture, regarding public safety policy overall. During the 2022 session, WASPC focused on fixing four key areas of the 2021 reform laws: 1. 2. 3. 4. .50 caliber “military equipment” When physical force is authorized Definition of physical force Vehicular Pursuits Thankfully, the .50 caliber “military equipment” proposal was quickly agreed-to and passed without conflict or fanfare via HB 1719 Washington State Legislature, and is now enacted law. The Legislature chose to use two different pieces of legislation to address when physical force is authorized – HB 1735 Washington State Legislature and HB 2037 Washington State Legislature. HB 1735 (ITAs, court orders, community caretaking, etc.) was passed without major objection. This bill passed the Legislature and is now enacted law, though it relies on the Serving the Law Enforcement Community and the Citizens of Washington definition of “physical force” in HB 2037 to be fully operational. HB 2037 passed the Legislature and was signed into law, but not without significant opposition. HB 2037 defines physical force and allows officers to use physical force to prevent a person from fleeing a lawful detention (Terry stop). Legislators and advocates alike claimed HB 2037 will “reverse last year’s progress on racial justice, while doing little to provide public safety for Washingtonians.” It is notable that many of the same legislators who voted for the problematic bills last session did vote for these necessary changes, and acknowledged the issues created by the original bills. A Closer look at Pursuits (SB 5919) SB 5919, which dealt with vehicular pursuits, fell victim to legislative gamesmanship and did not pass the Legislature. WASPC sought legislation to replace the de facto ban on vehicular pursuits with a framework that allowed vehicular pursuits only for criminal offenses where the offense was more dangerous than the pursuit. If the pursuit ever became more dangerous than the offense, the pursuit must be terminated. This, ironically, is pretty much the same ‘balancing test’ that legislators use to inaccurately describe the current law. Simply put, the current law allows and encourages a brazen contempt for the law, and as many of you see every day, criminals believe they can simply drive away and law enforcement can’t do much to stop them. Unfortunately, they’re right. We feel strongly that fleeing in a vehicle should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card. Both chambers passed versions of SB 5919 with strong majorities. The Senate passed SB 5919 as a ‘balancing test’ proposed by WASPC with a bipartisan 31-18 vote. The House passed a narrowed version, replacing the balancing test and simply lowering the current the probable cause standard down to reasonable suspicion, by a bipartisan 86-12 vote. A number of newspapers around the state published this article pointing out the overwhelming vote in both chambers and assuming it would become law, as most reasonable and sensible observers would logically do. While both chambers passed SB 5919, since the House passed it with different language, the bill needed the Senate to “concur” with the House amendments in order to send the bill to the Governor’s desk. The Senate majority leadership chos

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