Bill to Restore Police Pursuits Passes WA House
A bill that began in the Washington Senate which would lower the threshold for police pursuits in the state has passed the House of Representatives.
Seventh District Sen. Shelley Short (R) of Addy says Engrossed Senate Bill 5352 (ESB 5352) allows police to pursue several crimes based on reasonable suspicion instead of probably cause.
"The bill we sent over did increase the ability for some things that under the language of reasonable suspicion police could once again pursue. Those include domestic violence, and any kind of really significant felony or violent act. But unfortunately, vehicle theft is not among them."
ESB 5352 also allows for pursuits in instances of sexual offenses, escapes, DUI, vehicular assault, and domestic violence.
Short says she's pleased with some of what the bill includes but still believes it doesn't go far enough in restoring when and why police can legally engage in pursuits.
"It's kind of what we call a half-step forward. It's important to keep this bill going. I wasn't thrilled with the way it's come together but I also don't want to stop its progress even if it's incremental progress. Those are still important steps to restore for our law enforcement officers to have."
The legislation would also change current laws by allowing for pursuits if a person poses a "serious risk of harm to others" instead of an "imminent threat".
The bill now heads back to the Senate for final approval.