Law enforcement push legislators to roll back restrictions on police pursuits before session ends

Law enforcement officials say they are still not satisfied with the proposed changes to the law, namely that many criminals are not eligible for police pursuit.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Just over a month away from the 2023 legislative session, law enforcement reminded lawmakers of their request to lift restrictions on police pursuits .

In 2021, Washington state law increases the threshold of evidence needed for police pursuit while also limiting the types of crimes that can lead to a chase.

Under current law, police can only pursue a suspect if there is reasonable reason to believe that the driver has impaired memory, the criminal has fled, or has committed a violent or sex crime.

A bill passed by the state Senate would add the offenses of assault, vehicle assault and domestic violence.

The future of the House bill is uncertain.

Wednesday afternoon, Speaker Laurie Jinkins said, “I think it’s going to be going through the process and it’s likely going to be on the floor.”

Monday, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Sheriffs sent every member of the House of Representatives a letter encouraging them to pass the bill.

“While we believe that SB 5352 as amended by the Senate represents an improvement over existing law, we must make it clear to the Legislature that our communities and most Washingtonians concerns remain – fleeing in a vehicle could continue to be an “escape card” for many criminal offenses,” said the letter, signed by WASPC Policy Director James McMahan.

The letter lists serious crimes that would not be pursueable crimes under the Senate’s version of the bill including fatal hit and run, auto theft, certain counts of assault on a child, burglary Organized retail and residential theft.

If House Democrats don’t support the bill, House Minority Leader JT Wilcox said Republicans could try to force a secret ballot.

Wilcox said he believes a majority of members of the House want to pass the bill.

Wilcox said: “If we get to the end of that road and they pass up every tiniest opportunity to put the matter to a secret ballot, then yes, we’ll give every member of the party a go. their caucus the chance to vote,” said Wilcox. . Law enforcement push legislators to roll back restrictions on police pursuits before session ends

Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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