Sometimes, Law Enforcement officers, even in our area, have had to use various means of force or physical treatment to get an obviously mentally disturbed and sometimes dangerous person contained.

Sometimes these persons have to be physically restrained to get them where they can be mentally evaluated by medical personnel.

 Most of the time, it's simply having an officer or two restrain their arms or physically guide them to a patrol unit so they can be taken to a mental health crisis center.

But now, according to information shared by the Snohomish County and Franklin County Sheriff's Offices, that's not an option. Previously, an officer could use force under what was the "reasonable officer standard." Under the "totality of the circumstances", an officer could use varying amounts of force in direct response to the threats presented during an incident. But now, that's changed.

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According to Snohomish and Franklin County Sheriff's, here's the new criteria:

"Under the new law, a deputy sheriff in Washington can use force under only three affirmative circumstances: (1) to make an arrest; (2) to prevent escape (a legal term, not just someone running away); or (3) to protect against imminent threat of bodily injury to a person."

Snohomish and Franklin County went on to say:

"Deputy sheriffs can no longer use force, even minimal force, to detain a person in crisis for transportation to a hospital. The only instance a police officer may use force in this situation is if there is an imminent threat of bodily injury to a person. As a result, sheriff deputies will have to walk away from many crisis incidents far more often than in the past."

Sheriffs fear this will put first responders and EMS workers in harm's way, because Law Enforcement can no longer provide necessary physical protection to allow these workers to do their jobs.

We will share more restrictions placed on law enforcement by this and other new laws very shortly.

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