In March, the Washington State Legislature completed its 60-day session with disappointing outcomes for police accountability. House Bill 2037, which allows police officers to use force against individuals fleeing a stop, passed through both houses and was signed by Governor Jay Inslee.
“The 2022 Washington State Legislative session rolled back the police accountability reform wins from the previous year. The passage of HB 2037 will harm youth and communities of color, by allowing officers to escalate a situation by running after an individual and using force against them. Rather than creating and building trust with communities, this will cause further division with law enforcement.”Douglas Wagoner, Seattle Community Police Commission Co-Chair
The Seattle Community Police Commission created the 2022 Washington State Legislative Police Accountability Scorecard to track bills that will impact policing.
|Bill Number||Description||Status||CPC’s Stance and Analysis|
|ESHB 2037||Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.||Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.||Opposed – The bill undermines the progress made in the 2021 legislative session by allowing officers to use force against individuals who -they determine to be fleeing from a Terry Stop. Terry stops have disproportionately impacted black and brown communities.|
|HB 1719||Concerning use and acquisition of military equipment by law enforcement agencies.||Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.||Supported – The bill clarifies that police departments can acquire and utilize 40mm shotguns for less-lethal munitions. While CPC supported the clarifying aspects of this legislation we want to state, unequivocally, that non-violent de-escalation techniques can, and should, be used far more frequently.|
|SHB 1735||Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.||Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.||Supported – The bill clarifies that officers are allowed to respond to mental health calls. While the CPC supported this legislation we still want to emphasize that Washington state must create and prioritize non-law enforcement responses for behavioral health and mental health incidents.|
|ESB 5919||Concerning the definition of “physical force,” “necessary,” and “totality of the circumstances,” and the standard for law enforcement authority to use physical force and providing the authority for a peace officer to engage in a vehicular pursuit when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law and the officer follows appropriate safety standards.)||Did not pass the Senate Committee on Rules.||Opposed – This legislation would have lowered the standards from probable cause to reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a crime for officers to initiate a vehicular pursuit. Vehicular pursuits are notoriously dangerous and lowering standards for when an officer can initiate a pursuit makes them more likely occur.|
For the complete scorecard, click here.
For the upcoming 2023 Washington State Legislative session, the Commission is committed to amplifying the voices of our community in police accountability and reform across Washington State. The Commission has identified six main areas we’ll be fighting for in the next legislative session:
- Allowing individuals to hold officers accountable for their actions
- Prohibiting traffic stops for certain traffic violations
- Banning tear gas in Washington State
- Statewide changes to increase accountability
- Remove arbitration as a route of appeal for misconduct related discipline
- Remove accountability provisions from the bargaining process
- Funding for law enforcement related case studies and research
- Case study on mental health response methods
- Research on best practices for community-based oversight organizations
- Police data collection processes
- Case study on establishing a unified court system in Washington
- Research on methods to share outcomes with communities
- Establishing alternative responses to non-law enforcement related community needs
As the 2022 legislative session closes, the Commission is extending its gratitude to Rep. Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way). In 2021, Rep. Johnson championed police accountability and led the passage of HB 1310 and HB 1054, which defined and limited officer’s use of deadly force and banned the use of chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and the use of tear gas.
Learn More and Get Involved!
The Community Police Commission will be hosting a Community Engagement meeting Tuesday, May 10, 6 – 8:00 p.m. The State Legislative Advocacy workgroup will present a summary of the 2022 State Legislative Session and hear feedback and issues that community will like the Commission to pursue in 2023. Click here to register for the Community Engagement meeting.
Become a Commissioner!
Applications to become a CPC commissioner are open! To apply please submit the following:
- A resume or bio
- Cover letter describing your interest, number of hours you would be able to commit to CPC-related work per month, and relevant experience
- A state of commitment to attendance and full participation in the work of the commission.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, please submit your application to OCPC@seattle.gov
The Seattle Community Police Commission is committed to listening to, amplifying, and building common ground among communities affected by policing. The Commission champions policing practices centered in justice and equity.