Kudos to state Democratic lawmakers for their initiatives to clarify recent police reform laws HB 1310 and 1054 governing use of force by law enforcement personnel in Washington. Jesse Johnson, D-Federal Way, and Alicia Rule, D-Blaine, recently introduced HB 1735, clarifying that police officers can still use force and respond to mental health calls. This will reduce the uncertainty around this issue that many police departments felt was created by HB 1310.
HB 1054 banned police use of firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber and larger. Some police departments interpreted this to prevent the use of less-lethal weapons such as bean bag rounds in shotguns, when that was not HB 1054’s intent. Dan Bronoske, D-Lakewood, has sponsored House Bill 1719, which clarifies that the HB 1054 ban applies only to rifles and not to shotguns or less-lethal ammunition launchers.
Looking at the state Republican legislators’ website regarding police reform, there is nothing presented in the way of constructive legislative proposals for police reform. That website merely provides links to news stories and commentary that appear to question any need for police reform. I am waiting to see what specific constructive police reform legislation our state Republican lawmakers intend to propose.