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Tukwila Police News, Community Events and Updates

Legislative Updates & Their Impact on Law Enforcement Services

Tukwila Police Department Mission Statement:

We, the members of the Tukwila Police Department, are committed to being responsive to our community in the delivery of quality services. We recognize our responsibility to maintain order, while affording dignity and respect to every individual. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all through community partnerships and problem solving to promote safe, secure neighborhoods.

Legislative Updates and their Impact on Law Enforcement Services

At the June 15th Community Town Hall, we discussed several new laws that came out of the recent legislative session.  These laws are intended to support law enforcement and their de-escalation efforts while improving transparency and accountability for law enforcement.  The Tukwila Police Department supports changes that enhances safety for all and improves the way that we provide law enforcement services to the community.  We have been working diligently to incorporate the new laws into our policies and are now training our officers on the changes. 

The information below describes the laws and provides explanations of the impacts that these changes will have on how we provide law enforcement services in Tukwila.  Unless otherwise stated, these laws go into effect on July 25th. 2021. 

We understand that the new laws may generate questions.  Please feel free to contacts us, and we will be glad to address your concerns.

Summary of Law Enforcement Reform Bills

House Bill 1054 – Police Tactics:

  • Prohibits the use of a chokehold or neck restraint in any circumstance;
  • Required the CJTC to convene a work group to develop a model policy for the training and use of canine teams. Requires the model policy work group to consider, at a minimum, nine specific areas.
  • Prohibits the use of tear gas (chloroacetophenone (CN), chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS)), and any similar chemical irritant dispersed in the air for the purpose of producing temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury, except “tear gas” does not include oleoresin capsicum (OC)), except in three circumstances:
    • when necessary to alleviate a present risk of serious harm posed by a riot (riot is not defined in the bill);
    • when necessary to alleviate a present risk of serious harm posed by a barricaded subject (an individual who is the focus of a law enforcement intervention effort, has taken a position in a physical location that does not allow immediate law enforcement access, and is refusing law enforcement orders to exit); or
    • when necessary to alleviate a present risk of serious harm posed by a hostage situation (a scenario in which a person is being held against his or her will by an armed, potentially armed, or otherwise dangerous suspect).
  • Prior to deploying tear gas in an authorized circumstance, the law enforcement officers must:
    • Exhaust available and appropriate alternatives;
    • Obtain authorization from a supervising officer;
    • Announce the intent to use tear gas; and
    • Allow sufficient time and space for the subject(s) to comply.
  • Prior to deploying tear gas in response to a riot that is not inside a jail, correctional, or detention facility, the law enforcement agency must both meet the aforementioned conditions and receive authorization from the highest elected official of the jurisdiction in which the tear gas is to be used (the county executive in those charter counties with an elective office of county executive, however designated, and in the case of other counties, the chair of the county legislative authority. In the case of cities and towns, it means the mayor, regardless of whether the mayor is directly elected, selected by the council or legislative body pursuant to RCW 35.18.190 or 35A.13.030, or selected Back to top Page 3 of 23 according to a process in an established city charter. In the case of actions by the Washington state patrol, it means the governor).
  • Prohibits law enforcement agencies from using or acquiring “military equipment” as that term is defined in the bill, as of the effective date of the bill.
  • Requires law enforcement agencies to return or destroy any “military equipment” as that term is defined in the bill, by December 31, 2022.
  • Requires all law enforcement agencies to submit an inventory of “military equipment” as that term is defined in the bill, including the proposed use of the equipment, estimated number of times the equipment has been used in the prior year, and whether such use is necessary for the operation and safety of the agency or some other public safety purpose, to WASPC by November 1, 2021. Requires WASPC to submit a report of this information to the Governor and Legislature by December 31, 2021. (This law may impact the Department’s ability to use “less lethal” ammunition that is greater than .50 caliber.)
  • Requires law enforcement agencies to adopt policies and procedures to ensure that uniformed peace officers while on duty and in the performance of their official duties are reasonably identifiable.
  • Prohibits a law enforcement officer from engaging in a vehicular pursuit unless all the following conditions are satisfied:
    • The officer has: probable cause that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense, sex offense, as those terms are defined in RCW 9.94A.030, or escape under chapter 9A.76 RCW; or
    • reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a driving under the influence offense pursuant under RCW 46.61.502;
    • the pursuit is necessary for the purpose of identifying or apprehending the person;
    • the person poses an imminent threat to the safety of others and the safety risks of failing to apprehend or identify the person are considered to be greater than the safety risks of the vehicular pursuit under the circumstances; and o the officer receives authorization to engage in the pursuit from a supervising officer and the supervising officer has supervisory control of the pursuit. Certain exceptions exist for jurisdictions with fewer than 10 commissioned officers.

9.94A.030 Violent Offenses include:

Class A felonies

Manslaughter 1st and 2nd degree

Indecent liberties if committed by forcible compulsion

Kidnapping in the 2nd degree

Arson in the 2nd degree

Assault in the 1st or 2nd degree

Extortion in the 1st degree

Robbery in the 2nd degree

Drive-by shooting

Vehicular assault

Vehicular homicide

Escape from a detention facility

Escape from electronic home monitoring or custody

  • Defines a vehicular pursuit.
  • Prohibits a law enforcement officer from firing a weapon at a moving vehicle, with one narrowly tailored exception.
  • Prohibits a law enforcement officer from seeking, and prohibits a court from issuing, a no-knock warrant.

Impacts and considerations:

1) The Tukwila Police Department already prohibits choke holds and neck restraints, which are now required under this legislation for all agencies.

2) The Tukwila Police Department will continue to utilize less-lethal tools and will continue to work with State Legislators to help clarify language in the law, as we believe it follows the intent of the legislation to reduce serious or lethal injuries that may otherwise occur without these tools.

3) The restrictions on pursuits will most-likely result in Tukwila Police not engaging in pursuits, as the new higher “probable cause” standard is almost impossible to acquire until police have arrived on scene and had time to investigate. 

Example: Under the current law, if police were dispatched to the report of a child abduction and were given the description of the abductor and the vehicle that the abductor and the kidnapped child were in, police coming into the area that see a vehicle and driver matching that description could initiate a stop.  If the driver failed to stop and tried to flee in the vehicle, police would be authorized to pursue the vehicle under reasonable suspicion of the vehicle and driver being involved in that specific serious crime.  However, under the new law, the standard of probable cause would not exist and a pursuit could not be engaged until the officers arrived on scene, confirmed information, and evaluated evidence to determine that they had enough information to establish probable cause for an arrest. 

4) In the event of incidents that are impacted by the restrictions on pursuits, Tukwila police will respond to write a report, gather information and evidence, and interview persons with information to further an investigation. But police can no longer pursue suspects in fleeing vehicles in cases that do not involve specific violent or sex offenses, or if probable cause is not established.

5) The Tukwila Police Department will be developing a reporting system to collect information regarding the limits on the law enforcement response, any complaints received, and the impact on criminal enforcement related to pursuit restrictions.

6) The Tukwila Police Department will continue to work with State Legislators to help clarify and/or change the law.

House Bill 1088 – Potential Impeachment Disclosures (Brady):

House Bill 1089 – Audits of Independent Investigations:

House Bill 1223 – Uniform Electronic Recordation of Custodial Interrogations:

House Bill 1140 – Juvenile Access to Attorneys:

House Bill 1267 – Office of Independent Investigations:

Impacts and considerations:

The Office of Independent Investigations is authorized, but not required, to conduct investigations regarding the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer. As a result, it is necessary for existing independent investigation teams to remain in place to conduct independent investigations of the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer if/when the Office of Independent Investigations chooses to not take up an investigation.

House Bill 1310 – Use of Force:

Impacts and considerations:

Similar to HB 1054, HB 1310 has elevated the current reasonable suspicion standard for use of force to “probable cause.”

The Fourth Amendment prohibits an officer from making an arrest without showing probable cause. In Lamb, 738 F.2d 1005, 1007 (9th Cir. 1984), probable cause is shown to exist when “the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer’s knowledge are sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe that a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.” 

This higher standard requires an officer to either witness the crime or to initiate an investigation to establish probable cause.

Example:  Officers are dispatched to a shooting and are given the description of the shooter.  Officers arriving on scene see a person clearly matching the description of the described shooter.  Currently, Officers would be able to detain the person matching the description (using reasonable force, if necessary) until probable cause could be established to arrest the person.  Under the new law, officers will not be able to physically detain a suspect until they have established probable cause to arrest.  This may allow a suspect to flee the scene before such knowledge of their involvement is established, as there will be no way to prevent them from leaving.

However, The Tukwila Police Department is looking at using the crime of Obstructing a Public Servant to establish probable cause for all crimes against persons.  (Property crimes, such as theft, will not apply.)  This law allows officers to detain a person that attempts to interfere with a police investigation.  A person that is believed to be involved in a crime based on reasonable suspicion established by an officer is not free to leave (Terry v Ohio).  Any attempt to leave thereafter would be interfering with an investigation and thereby Obstructing a Public Servant. Terry v Ohio is. case law that has been upheld for decades by the United States Supreme Court which grants officers with reasonable suspicion the legal authority to perform investigatory detentions of suspects to investigate whether or not a crime has been committed.

Senate Bill 1320 – Decertification:

Senate Bill 5066 – Duty to Intervene:

Senate Bill 5259 – Law Enforcement Data Collection:

Senate Bill 5476 – State v Blake:

Impacts and considerations:

Different police departments currently do not have the means to determine if a subject has received referrals previously, except for an officer’s own agency records.  We will be working with our partner agencies to come up with a means for checking the status of referrals.

Links to laws:

HB 1054 – Tactics

HB 1088 – Potential Impeachment Disclosures

HB 1089 – Audits of Independent Investigations

HB 1223 – Electronic Recordation of Custodial Interrogations

HB 1140 – Juvenile Access to Attorneys

HB 1267 – Office of Independent Investigations

HB 1310 – Use of Force

HB 1320 – Protection Orders

SB 5051 – Decertification

SB 5055 – Grievance Arbitration Panels

SB 5066 – Duty to Intervene

SB 5259 – Law Enforcement Data Collection

SB 5476 – State v Blake

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