Police reform to lead off the next session

OLYMPIA – A sweeping police reform package of legislation is being proposed by the a panel of lawmakers in the House and Senate for the coming session of the Washington Legislature. The House and Senate are working together on the package, which they hope will be ready to be introduced on Jan. 11, 2021, which is the first day of the coming session.

The package is expected to ban or severely limit certain police tactics including choke holds, neck restraints, and the use of military equipment. Other elements could be establishing a decertification process for officers who use deadly force, training for officers on intervening with excessive use of force, and reforming the investigative process of use of force incidents.

In the past, legislators have felt they needed police unions’ support to stand with them in order to get reform legislation passed. Political observers feel that this session the idea of wanting more accountability for police officers has more public support than in the past. While law enforcement officials do not argue that reform could be a positive thing, many disagree on the specific methods that would effect that change.