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May 27, 2022

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Herrera Beutler introduces ‘Refund the Police Act’

Congresswoman says reform laws imperil safety

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CENTRALIA — In an effort to curtail recent police reform legislation, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, has introduced the Refund the Police Act to provide federal grant incentives to states that don’t place limits on the actions of law enforcement agencies.

The bill would allocate $25 million annually for five years through the Community Oriented Policing Services grant program in the Department of Justice, according to a news release from the congresswoman.

In order to be eligible, local and state governments must not have in effect a law requiring a “heightened standard for use of force,” such as the recently passed Washington House Bill 1310; expand efforts to hire and retain officers; and not have taken steps in the previous year to eliminate drive-by shootings as a basis for first-degree murder, which Washington lawmakers are considering through HB 1692.

In a statement, Herrera Beutler said she hopes this bill would serve as a message to other states looking to mirror controversial police reform legislation in Washington.

“I’ve had countless conversations with local law enforcement officers and without exception, they point to Washington’s so-called police reform bills as contributors to rising crime in our communities. The stated goals for these bills are admirable, but what has resulted is emboldened criminals, demoralized officers whose jobs are more dangerous, and rising crime,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement.

“It’s time for Washington to reverse course on failed police laws, which is why I’m introducing the Refund the Police Act in Congress to encourage Washington to pursue policies that support safer communities,” she added.

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