More than 50 people joined Gov. Jay Inslee as he signed House Bill 1064 into law Monday. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services

More than 50 people joined Gov. Jay Inslee as he signed House Bill 1064 into law Monday. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services

Inslee signs measure that changes use of deadly force law by police

Requires additional de-escalation training

  • Tuesday, February 5, 2019 1:25pm
  • News

Joined by dozens of legislators, law enforcement officials and community leaders, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Monday that changes the law for use of deadly force by police officers and requires officers to take additional de-escalation training.

The new law (Substitute House Bill 1064) makes changes to Initiative 940, which voters approved in November. The bill results from a multi-year effort that brought community advocates and law enforcement together in an unprecedented collaboration on this issue, according to a Governor’s Office news release.

“This is a model for how the country can work through emotional and divisive issues,” Inslee said. “This bill — which passed unanimously out of both chambers — doesn’t fix everything. Far from it. But it’s a start. It’s a sign that we can have this conversation, and that something good can come of it. It’s a sign that we can indeed begin to dismantle and redefine our understanding of justice for all in America.”

This is the first bill Inslee signed from the 2019 legislative session.

The changes stem from concerns about use of deadly force in situations between police officers and the public. The bill modifies the standard for use of deadly force by law enforcement officers. The real value in the bill comes from the now-required violence de-escalation and mental health training, said Lynnette Buffington, executive director of the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police.

“Opposing sides heard each other out,” Buffington said. “This is an achievement we can apply to any political divide — if people are willing to hear each other out for an expended period of time, we might come to a place where we agree.”

Steve Strachan, the executive director of Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, said the signed bill represents one of the most ‘extraordinarily’ collaborative efforts between community advocates and law enforcement groups that he has experienced in his 34-year career in law enforcement.

“Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Strachan, a former Kent Police chief.

Strachan, who represented law enforcement, was among those who sat at the table for intense discussions about the proposed bill. Andre Taylor, who lost his brother in a deadly force incident in 2016, brought a community advocate voice to the group. So did Tim Reynon, a member of the Puyallup Tribal Council whose tribe lost Jacqueline Salyers the same year. Legislators, police officers and other voices from community organizations such as De-Escalate Washington were also involved in the discussions.

The meetings often lasted anywhere from four to 12 hours. In the beginning, you could feel tension between the two groups, Reynon said.

Many attendees felt an emotional ‘us versus them’ mentality, according to Teresa Taylor, executive director from Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs. Although that mentality quickly decreased, she said law enforcement approached those initial meetings with an expectation to listen.

“It showed we respected the work they had done, the issues they brought forward, and that we really wanted to better understand their position,” Teresa Taylor said. “That was pretty powerful. It wasn’t just law enforcement coming to the table and demanding for something to be different.”

The Washington Post compiled state-by-state data of every fatal shooting by a police officer since 2015. The number of people fatally shot in Washington during 2017 rose to 38, which accounts for 4 percent of the nation’s 2017 overall count.

Over time, small victories for both sides started to emerge. Taylor said one of the turning points came during an extra-long meeting. Law enforcement members asked community members to leave the room so law enforcement members could find common ground around a certain issue before moving forward.

“They were out of the room for hours — hours — and they never left the building,” she said. “They stayed. There was never a moment when they said, ‘We’re leaving for the day until you figure it out.’ That’s powerful because it showed they saw the process as a holistic event and saw the important part of being available.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services
Gregerson state bill aims to improve immigration support

Designed to better address needs of refugees, immigrants arriving in Washington state

t
Federal Way man faces charges for shooting, injuring trooper in Kent

Trooper reportedly shot nine times Feb. 16 after a struggle following foot pursuit

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice
Kent man pleads guilty to selling guns to those with criminal histories

Sold more than 100 firearms to those barred from possessing guns

t
Man dies after shooting in Kent on King County Metro bus

Altercation between two men led to shooting Friday afternoon, Feb. 16

File photo
Puget Sound Energy files two-year rate plan for electric, natural gas

Driven by the state’s clean energy laws, the plan has been filed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Washington Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program advocacy group at the State Capitol for HB 1916. (Photo Courtesy of Kindering)
‘When services decline, it’s the kids who pay the price’

Legislative bill would recover funding for the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program - and could save the state millions.

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office
Kent man, woman charged in carjackings, stolen vehicles case

Tracking by King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter lasted nearly 50 minutes Feb. 13 across Kent

Donald Cook. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Cook accuses fellow Kent School Board members of improper actions

Claims they made decisions during private executive sessions that should be made in public

t
Port Townsend man injured in I-5 hit-and-run crash near Kent

Early Thursday morning, Feb. 15 near South 200th Street; driver flees on foot

t
Kent Police Blotter: Jan. 30 to Feb. 10

Incidents include 11 shootings: two at city parks, two at apartments, one at WinCo

t
Vine Maple Place receives $200,000 grant from KeyBank

Group has centers in Kent and Maple Valley to help families who are homeless

File Photo
DOJ settles with King County Sheriff’s Office in agreement to improve language access

OLEO has previously expressed concerns about the office’s language access policies.