By Steve Pomper
Nothing good happens when radical activists and politicians try to “fix” something that isn’t broken—just because they don’t like it. Policing in America is not “broken.” So, what happened when they tried to “fix” what wasn’t broken in Washington State? They broke it. Now, they really have something to fix. Their stupid new anti-police laws.
But “fix” what’s not broken is what the Washington State Legislature and governor attempted to do last year with disastrous results. Now, the lawmakers and governor have been scrambling to “fix,” through new legislation, what cops warned them not to do in the first place.
All legitimate statistical data, research, and analysis (including from the FBI and even a Harvard professor) have proven this. There is no crisis of racism in law enforcement. When was the last time you heard a call to reform an entire industry over anomalies?
According to KNKX public radio (NPR), “One of the newly signed bills makes clear officers may use force to help detain or transport people in a behavioral health crisis, while the other corrects an oversight that seemed to inadvertently prohibit police departments from possessing certain less-lethal weapons.”
KNKX also described last year’s legislation as “the nation’s most ambitious package of police reform and accountability measures following the murder of George Floyd, a Black [sic] man, by Minneapolis police and the protests [riots] that ensued.”
These were not “errors” in this “most ambitious package” that needed to be “fixed.” These were intentionally included items cops pegged as wrong from the inception of this foolish legislation.
Washington’s hapless governor signed the “fix-it” bills and, rather than condemning the damage that legislation has done, he painted a happy face on fixing the “mistakes.” Inslee said, “When we take steps forward, we learn, and we improve. I’m glad legislators have had an open mind to listen to what is happening in the field and respond.” Perhaps they should have listened to cops in the first place. Then it wouldn’t have been necessary to “fix” these steps backwards.
And, calling it “a more controversial alteration” to the new reforms, the state Senate passed a new bill that—get this—allows cops “to use force to prevent people from fleeing temporary investigative stops.” Yes. This state actually made it illegal for an officer to stop a suspect from leaving a crime scene he or she is investigating. What could possibly go wrong?
This legislation was so warped, it prevented officers from using force unless they had probable cause to make an arrest. This is straight-up lunacy. It often takes time for officers to establish probable cause.
Say, officers arrive at a scene, and three people run away. Under the new law, officers could not chase the suspects. Well, that’s not quite accurate. Theoretically, cops could chase them but not catch them because they’d need to use force to do the catching part. Unless officers have the authority to keep suspects at the scene to determine if probable cause exists to make an arrest, why should cops show up at all?
This “glitch” should have been obvious to all legislators, but it wasn’t to too many because the original bill passed. Anti-police groups did this “by design” so police wouldn’t “use force against the wrong person—too often, minorities.” And so, the anti-cop myth perpetuates.
About the “fixes,” KNKX wrote that the bill Inslee signed “makes clear that the Legislature never intended to stop police from using force in community caretaking situations. It also says officers can use force to execute search warrants and to take minors into protective custody.”
That’s BS. That is exactly what the original “police reformers” intended. They said so often enough. Of course, they point out officers must still “exercise reasonable care and appropriate de-escalation tactics before using force.”
During my over two decades on the job, officers did this 99.9 percent of the time. The original legislation was so insulting to cops and this new legislation should have been unnecessary. Yes, always strive to improve, as in any profession. But improving does not mean reforming, which implies something was wrong.
To put a face on the issue, which has negatively affected many Washingtonians, the law made Diane Ostrander of Redmond one of those unnecessary victims. All because of the Legislature’s stupid quest to placate the radical left and become more “woke.”
She recounted the story of dealing with her 34-year-old son after he suffered a “psychotic break,” which left him “homeless” back in December. She “begged police” to get her son help, but they told her they could no longer use force to place him into protective custody.
They told her they could only take him into custody if he broke the law. Then, inevitably, in January, Ostrander’s son committed a crime. He assaulted her. Now, he’s receiving in-patient care “at psychiatric facilities since shortly after his arrest.”
Another person, suffering from mental health issues, set an apartment building ablaze, adding another 80 or so unnecessary victims who were displaced from their residences. Police had responded to deal with him, but the new law did not allow them to take effective actions.
Another “fix” Inslee signed would “fix” the law restricting law enforcement agencies from using firearms greater than .50 caliber. This banned less-lethal armaments such as bean-bag shotguns. How did the proponents of this legislation miss that? They didn’t. They knew it and did it anyway. This does not sound like a governor and legislature fixing mistakes. This sounds like a government forced to admit, “we’re sorry; we were wrong,” without having to say it.
Oh, and that other sound you hear is the cops saying, once again, “We told you so.”