Bill Restoring WA Police Pursuits Now in Doubt, Says GOP
A bi-partisan WA state House bill that would restore most law enforcement pursuits is in jeopardy, says a GOP legislator.
House Bill (HB) 1353 might not get a vote
According to information from WA State GOP House Communications Director John Sattgast, HB 1353 appeared to have a good chance to make it out of committee and to the House floor for debate and a likely vote.
The bill would return 'reasonable suspicion' as a justification for law enforcement engaging in vehicle pursuits of suspects, instead of 'probable cause.' Probable cause means the officer(s) must have visible or other proof the suspect is committing an offense at the very moment in order to be chased.
The current law, which went into effect in 2021, is responsible for thousands of suspects simply driving away from traffic stops or crime scenes with officers unable to pursue them.
31st. District House Rep Eric Robertson (Sumner) said after initial Democrat support and hard-hitting emotional testimony in favor of the bill, Democrat committee support is fading. According to Sattgast:
Robertson said: “There's allegedly not enough support on the Democratic side in the committee to vote that out to send it to the floor for proper debate.”
If the bill does not make it out of committee, it is all but dead for this year.
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Gallery Credit: Katelyn Leboff