(Olympia, WA) — Members of the Washington State House Community, Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee have approved a bill dealing with vehicle pursuits by the police in Washington State. In essence, the bill loosens some rules for police when engaging suspects in a chase, but only for very certain crimes.
The original bill had sought to bring back the reasonable suspicion standard that had previously guided when it was legal for police to begin a pursuit. That was changed to probable cause back in 2021. The amended bill allows for the reasonable suspicion standard in the case of a a violent offense, a sex offense, a vehicular assault, an escape, assault in the first, second, third or fourth degree that involves domestic violence, or driving under the influence.
Another amendment in the bill sunsets the law on July 1st, 2025, which means the probable cause standard would return. Another, separate bill would establish a study of police pursuits.
The sponsor of the bill, Representative Eric Robertson, slammed the new amendments
It’s just too narrow. It really continues to limit the ability for the men and women of law enforcement to do their job.”
The committee passage of the bill means it remains alive.
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