Washington’s House and Senate have approved an initiative to allow police to pursue more criminals. 

Southwest Washington State Representative Jim Walsh introduced Initiative 2113.

Walsh says, “It leaves in place the standards for training, for supervision of police pursuits and changes only the standard of discretion that the pursuing officer has to meet to chase a criminal.”

The initiative allows a reasonable suspicion standard for police pursuits.   Supporters say this will restore the ability of officers to do their jobs.  Walsh says, “I shaped this initiative in talking with law enforcement, and when I talked to cops and sheriff’s deputies they told me the one thing, more than anything else, that we need. Is the ability to chase bad people.”

Representative Gina Mosbrucker says,  “Police morale will go up. People won’t be disillusioned. Communities will be safe. You’ll see crime go down.”

Police groups and republicans argued in favor of the new standard.  But opponents included researchers like Dr. Jeffrey Alpert. He’s been studying police pursuits for 30 years.  “If all you want to do is enforce laws, chase everyone, do what they did in the 80’s, chasing til the wheels fall off. But the carnage on the roadways is going to be horrible.”

Because this was an initiative, and received more than the required number of citizens’ signatures, it only needed approval from the State House and Senate.  It will become law without Governor Jay Inslee’s signature 90 days after the legislature adjourns on Thursday.

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