35th District Representatives vote against police pursuit bill passed by House

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CONTACT: Hanna Scott, Public Information Officer for Rep. Dan Griffey | 360-968-3938
Daniel McDonald, Public Information Officer for Rep. Travis Couture | 360-786-7182

35th District Representatives vote against police pursuit bill passed by House

The state House shortly after midnight on Tuesday passed a bill that would partially restore the ability of law enforcement officers to engage in vehicle pursuits in limited circumstances.   

Senate Bill 5352 would allow police pursuits of those suspected of committing a violent crime, a sex offense, domestic violence-related offenses, vehicle assault, driving under the influence, and trying to escape arrest.

The existing law, enacted in 2021, raised the standard for police pursuits from “reasonable suspicion” to “probable cause,” which severely hemmed in law enforcement.

Representatives Dan Griffey and Travis Couture of the 35th District voted against the measure because they say it does not go nearly far enough.

Griffey: “The few crumbs the majority party allowed in this bill fall far short of what our police have asked for and do not give them the tools they need to keep our communities and themselves safe. While this watered-down bill would restore the ability of police to pursue when they have reasonable suspicion rather than the high bar of probable cause, it only allows that in very limited circumstances when they have suspicion of a violent crime, sex crime, domestic violence or DUI. It changes nothing when it comes to pursuing car thieves and those suspected of other crimes that have been steadily on the rise since the majority party forced this statewide reform experiment on us two years ago.

“We must restore a system of proactive policing where our officers can actually stop crime, a system that includes a credible deterrent that not only helps those who want it down a restorative path, but also holds those who refuse to take that path accountable. This bill doesn’t come close.”

Couture: “This bill will not keep people safe. Instead, it will continue to allow criminals to get away with an exhaustive list of felonies and misdemeanors, including auto thefts, human trafficking, and certain kinds of assault. As the father of children with developmental disabilities, I find it deeply troubling that this bill does not even allow police to pursue individuals suspected of luring a child.

“We had a real opportunity this year to learn from the mistakes of the past and reverse course on this failed experiment. Now our constituents will likely have to wait another year while criminals brazenly terrorize communities across our state as police are forced to stand down. The people we represent deserve better – they deserve justice.”

SB 5352 was approved by the House 57-40. The bill now heads to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov