Senate passes bill taking handcuffs off law enforcement (KPD)
Senate passes bill taking handcuffs off law enforcement (KPD)

The phrase "totality of the circumstances" is huge for law enforcement


Some cynical observers say Senate Democrats who voted in favor of SB 5919 (senate bill) are up for re-election in the fall and don't want to appear to be soft on crime.

Either way, GOP Senator John Braun of Centralia says this bill is huge. It's the biggest step taken to reverse the damage done by a dozen bills the severely restricted law enforcement in our state, they went into effect last July.

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The "totality of the circumstances" means a law enforcement officer will be given the benefit of the doubt in using increased force, utilizing a car chase, or other previously 'illegal' means to apprehend a suspect, save a victim or stop a crime.  It means all the evidence known at that time to the officer can justify his actions.

The bill allows increased use of car chases, force to subdue suspects, and other tactics and also widens other areas of tactics. From the bill synopsis, (for example):

"The situations where a peace officer may use physical force are expanded. A peace officer may use physical force against a person when necessary to: • protect against criminal conduct where there is probable cause to make an arrest;  -  • effect an arrest; • prevent an escape; effect an investigative detention..."

The bill passed with a vote of 31-28 in favor.

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