Submitted by Linda Hood, University Place.
The WA state legislature passed landmark police accountability bills during the 2021 legislative session. The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor highlighted the need for a change in police culture and training.
These bills contain many common sense measures, for example banning choke holds and no-knock warrants as well as requiring the use of de-escalation techniques. I have been very disappointed in the attitudes of some of our local law enforcement to the passage of these bills.
Unfounded assertions have been made about the effect of the police accountability bills, designed to create fear in constituents. For example, Olympia Police Chief Jelcick stated in an interview in The Olympian “Under 1310, officers can only respond to calls reporting crimes, not ones requesting wellness checks or other “community caretaking”.”
Other law enforcement members have made similar statements, including University Place Police Chief Premo, who in a newsletter states “some calls we will no longer respond to at all and the response to some other calls will look much different.” The newsletter was later edited to remove this statement.
A memo from AG Ferguson’s office debunks these claims in no uncertain terms: Law enforcement should discuss the actual provisions in the bills, not misinformation intended to provoke fear.