WA State Houses Passes New Police Pursuit Bill-Heads to Senate
The WA State House has finally approved a bill that revises the restrictive police pursuit laws that went into effect in 2021, but does it go far enough to make a difference?
Many legislators grudgingly voted yes
According to MyNorthwest.com, a number of GOP Representatives voted yes, but with reservations, the House passed an amended version of the original Senate proposal.
The original House Bill, HB 1363, contained even more allowances, but never made it off the House floor.
This 'new' bill allows police pursuits in the following instances, according to MyNorthwest.com:
"With new amendments to the legislation, the bill would allow police to pursue a suspect if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed. Specifically in cases involving violent offenses, sex offenses, vehicular assault, an escape, domestic violence assaults, and DUI."
Reasonable suspicion has a lot more leeway than probable cause because it gives law enforcement the ability to act on credible information but not have to establish concrete 'proof'--which usually has allowed suspects to escape before officers could pursue.
However, the new bill does not include a provision to pursue involving stolen vehicles. Auto theft is one of the top reasons, if not the primary cause, for police pursuits.
Even if the Senate passes this House bill, a person could still literally watch their car be stolen, call the police, and the officers would not be able to chase the suspect--unless they believed they had committed one of the offenses listed earlier in our story.
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