Police Reform

I love the Opt Ed section of the paper. I believe we all need to write at least one letter on something we’re passionate about in our lifetime. In saying that, I applaud this reader

A raft of police accountability measures went into effect last year, and public safety agencies across the state reacted differently — some supportive, others confused and a few opposed.

Lawmakers ought to tweak certain aspects. Specifically, legislative clarification should ensure that officers know they will not be held liable for transporting or detaining someone in a mental health crisis.

According to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the new law fails to acknowledge the many circumstances where officers must take action in the interest of the public and a person’s own safety. Examples include assisting in the involuntary detention of persons for medical treatment or carrying out court orders to extract a child from a dangerous home. This should be fixed.

In addition, legislators should affirm the valid use of nonlethal large caliber weapons, such as those that use beanbag rounds. These were swept up in last year’s ban on military-style equipment. De-escalation training should also be emphasized and placed on the same level as continuous training with firearms.

To ensure police reforms are applied consistently throughout the state, the Legislature should establish an Office of Independent Prosecution to impartially consider charges against law enforcement officers in egregious use-of-force incidents.

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