New Police Reform Laws Mean Police Response May Suffer
Area police chiefs and the Yakima County Sheriff have penned a letter to the community to say they're very concerned about new state laws that will as they say "significantly change how law enforcement responds to certain types of calls for service across the state."
POLICE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT A NEW LAW THAT STARTS JULY 25
The letter released on Monday says while there were a lot of bills that passed that concerned police there's one bill that could have a big impact on future policing. House Bill 1310, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Johnson is a use of force bill that goes into effect on July 25. The bill requires police to have probable cause, as opposed to reasonable suspicion before using force. Local authorities say the law will change the way they've responded to calls in the past.
LOCAL AUTHORITIES SAY OFFICERS ARE NOW CONCERNED ABOUT CAREERS
The letter says "the legislature has sent a clear message when it comes to the use of force;they want law enforcement to NOT RESPOND to every call for service, to slow down, create distance use shielding, communicate and on occasion even leave a scene to avoid the use of force."
But there's major concern by the local authorities. They say the changes mean "officers risk decertification by the state and even being charged with a crime if an encounter results in injury or death."
POLICE SAY THEY'LL DO THE BEST THEY CAN UNDER THE NEW LAW
They say they'll work hard to develop a unified approach to how they change and remain compliant with these new laws.
The letter released on Monday was signed by the Yakima County Sheriff as well as police chiefs from Yakima, Grandview, Selah, Sunnyside, Tieton, Toppenish, Union Gap, Wapato and Zillah Police Departments.