No-Chase Laws Prevent Richland Police from Catching Burglary Suspect
Another example of how the 2021 laws passed by the state legislature are affecting law enforcement.
Richland Officer not able to directly chase car theft suspect
Wednesday, Richland Police received a call about a possible burglary taking place in North Richland. When officers arrived, they saw the suspect fleeing, they jumped in a maroon sedan and sped off.
However, due to these pursuit laws, RPD could not directly chase the driver. However, a short time later, they received word that a car matching the description of the one at the crime scene had crashed in the 600 block of Newcomer St. and the driver was seen fleeing on foot.
Despite a wide search by Richland Police, Benton County Deputies, West Richland Police as well as the Pasco Police drone and Kennewick K-9, the suspect was not located.
The search continues, anyone who may have information or might have seen the suspect in the area during the incidents is urged to call (509)-628-0333.
why couldn't the officer pursue?
Part of what Gov. Inslee called a "police reform" package of laws that went into effect in July 2021 includes limitations on vehicle pursuits. Previously law enforcement could chase a suspect due to "reasonable suspicion," but now they have to have "probable cause," They have to have evidence the person fleeing in the vehicle actually committed the specific crime.
In this case, the suspect fled the scene when they saw Police arrive, but because the officers did not actually witness the specific break-in, they couldn't chase the person even as they jumped in the car and sped off.
The search for the suspect continues.
LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?