Last year the Washington Legislature last year passed a series of police reform laws that under the flag of the best of intentions, figuratively took the cuffs off criminals and put them on police!

Traditional and effective police practices and tools were changed or shelved and the complications and potential liabilities of all that forced many officers to have to decide to continue on the job under the new laws or retire or resign, which many have done.

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Define Reasonable Force

Use of reasonable force is an important and yet undefined point of contention in the legislation that local law enforcers say needs to be fixed.  The impetus for police involvement changed from having "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity to police now being required to meet a higher standard of "probable cause"  - which means in some cases no action will be taken and some criminal behavior won't be addressed.

Yakima County Sheriff Bob Udell says that may show up as a positive statistic of "less crime" but in reality, it means the public is actually less safe.

Call You Representative And Demand Action

Union Gap Police Chief Greg Cobb says there is legislation under consideration that could help right the ship and in particular, the Chief references Senate Bill SB 5919 – Concerning the standard for law enforcement authority to detain or pursue persons

  • Would permit the use and re-deployment of less-lethal tools that were previously defined as “military equipment”
  • Requires potential suspects to be stopped by Deputies and other law-enforcement officials when an investigation is being conducted
  • Redefines “Physical Force,” something that was previously left open for interpretation
  • Restores authority for law enforcement to pursue a suspect vehicle if it is deemed a safety risk to the public

4th District Congressman Dan Newhouse has weighed in on reforming the reform bills saying:

I also urge the men and women in Central Washington to contact your state representatives and let them know that these absurd policies have made our communities less safe, and that you support the ability of our police officers to do their jobs

Sheriff Udell and Chief Cobb were on the morning news today and echo Newhouse's call for action.

 

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