State GOP Bills Take Aim at Restoring Law Enforcement Capabilites
Republican legislators have already put out several bills seeking to roll back restrictions on law enforcement that were stripped by Democratic legislation in 2021.
TWO BILLS WOULD 'REINSTATE' POLICE CHASES, USE OF FORCE WHEN NEEDED
Republican House Rep. Jim Walsh (Aberdeen) has filed two bills this session, House Bill (HB) 1588 and HB 1589.
HB 1588 would restore a "peace officers" right to engage in a vehicular pursuit of a suspect when there is reasonable suspicion they committed a crime. That bill has 21 GOP sponsors, including 8th District (tri-cities) Reps. Matt Boehnke and Brad Klippert.
HB 1589 would restore an officer's right to use force to take a suspect into custody, it removes the troublesome "probable cause" put in by Democrats. It gives officers leeway much closer to what they had in the past. This bill also has at least 16 GOP sponsors, including Boehnke and Klippert.
CRIME BILLS FROM 2021 HAVE CAUSED SPIKES IN VIRTUALLY EVERY CATEGORY
We've reported on stories where Officers had to practically 'let a suspect go' because they would violate one of the new laws restricting when and how they can pursue suspects. We've also seen where the City of Kennewick has had to 'park' their 37 MM beanbag rifle in favor of borrowing Pasco's 20 MM weapon because the legislature deemed the 37 MM was "too lethal."
These bills will face an uphill struggle, but with the crime rates in WA exploding over the last year, a surprising number of Democratic legislators are moving away from their previous 'soft-on-crime' stance because THEIR districts are seeing crime spikes.
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