By Erich Ebel
Calling it a “technical clean-up” bill, Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, and chairman of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee, said he was pleased to hear the governor had signed Senate Bill 5466 into law today. Carrell’s measure will coalesce Washington State Patrol recordkeeping procedures with processes and protocols required under state law.
“The State Patrol came to us with this idea to help clean up the language in its system,” Carrell said. “I believe we owe it to our law-enforcement agencies to do anything we can to make it easier for them to do their jobs, which is why I’m pleased to be able to provide them with this technical fix.”
WSP is the central repository for criminal-history record information for all of Washington, housing such items as fingerprint records and criminal-disposition information. Local criminal-justice agencies are required by law to submit felony- and gross-misdemeanor arrest and disposition information to the repository, and WSP annually audits disposition records for each prosecuting attorney, district and municipal court, and any other originating agency to ensure all reports have been added to the database. However, with the high workload of the court system and the shrinkage in staff and funding, the receipt of final-disposition records are is often delayed beyond the required deadline.
When a WSP audit identifies records older than one year that have not been submitted to the central database, SB 5466 will require that local law-enforcement entity to either make the submission or report on the status of the disposition within 60 days, rather than the current 45 days.
“The Washington State Patrol’s Identification and Criminal History Section of the agency is responsible for storing and cataloguing these criminal-history records for the state,” Carrell said. “It’s a vital component to public safety because all law enforcement has access to these records and can more easily obtain the criminal history of a suspect using the information. Making the system more streamlined is absolutely the right thing to do, and I’m thankful the House, Senate and governor all agree.”
SB 5466 will take effect on July 27.