A majority of Washington voters support the statewide package of police reforms.

In 2021, Washington State passed a statewide package of police reforms to better protect both community and police. Two bills in particular — HB1310 and HB1054 — have become the subject of misinformation by some law enforcement. These bills do the following:

  • Require de-escalation.
  • Restrict when physical force can be used.
  • Limit when police can engage in high-speed car chases.
  • Ban police departments from owning and operating military equipment like tanks, armed vehicles, sound cannons, grenades, and machine guns.
  • Require officers to be identifiable when on duty (i.e. a badge or ID number).
  • Restrict the use of tear gas.

Whereas a segment of the police community supported the adoption of these bills, some police are more interested in protecting the status quo, resisting change, and thwarting transparency and accountability by fear mongering and refusing to do their jobs.

These overdue laws have the potential to save lives and improve relations between police and the public.

  1. Support Holding Police Accountable:

    87% support requiring police to clearly identify themselves as police officers while on duty.

    79% support consequences for police who refuse to enforce the law because they personally disagree with it.

    71% support holding police accountable for knowingly refusing to do their jobs.

    Support Restrictions on Use of Force:

    62% support limiting use of tear gas.

    71% support a ban on neck restraints.

    Reject Police Claims:

    74% reject the claim that police are prohibited from using their guns when responding to a crime.

    88% reject, or question, the claim that police can’t pursue vehicles involved in a crime.

  2. Police Claim…

    Restricting car chases prevents officers from pursuing and arresting criminals.

    The Truth…

    The new pursuit law creates a statewide standard the police must uphold before engaging in a dangerous high-speed car chase, which have killed countless innocent bystanders and police.

    Restricting circumstances that warrant the risk of a high-speed pursuit makes everyone safer.

  3. Police Claim…

    Restrictions on force, including putting people in chokeholds and strangleholds, will stop them from intervening in a crisis.

    The Truth…

    After the choking deaths of Eric Garner, George Floyd, and Manuel Ellis in Tacoma, people across the state and country have called for an end to this brutal tactic. Officers in Washington have not been trained consistently on this tactic and mistakes, resulting in potential death or paralysis, are far too common. The new law bans all neck restraints, removing this tactics from an officer’s toolbox. The goal of the new laws is to reduce excessive use of force by creating a duty of reasonable care and prioritizing de-escalation and less lethal alternatives.

  4. Police Claim…

    Restrictions on being able to use physical force will stop them from intervening in a crisis or pursuing suspected criminals.

    The Truth…

    Nothing in the law prevents officers from showing up to crisis calls and intervening. 1310 emphasizes de-escalation over confrontation and limits the use of deadly force to when necessary to protect someone’s life. Police who object to de-escalation as a priority are asserting that the only tool that they have is to physically injure or kill people in crisis. Physically threatening or harming someone should not be the police's default strategy.

  5. Police Claim…

    They need military equipment, in addition to standard police weaponry, to keep communities safe.

    The Truth…

    Military-grade weapons do not keep communities safe. Tanks, sound cannons, grenades and machine guns are intended for use by soldiers at war, not police sworn to serve and protect local communities. With the passage of 1054, the police can no longer purchase or use military style equipment.

  6. Police Claim…

    The uniform requirements in HB 1054 are too restrictive.

    The Truth…

    Until now, officers in Washington weren’t required to always be easily identifiable as law enforcement. During last summer’s protests, some police hid their names on uniforms to avoid identification. This puts both the public and the police at risk. People should be able to identify, and name, officers working and responding to situations in their communities.

  7. Police Claim…

    Gases and chemical irritants are necessary tools that officers should be able to use and are mostly used in cases where there is a barricaded subject.

    The Truth…

    Officers are now limited in their use of tear gas to only situations where there is a barricaded subject, hostage, or riot where there is a risk of harm, and alternatives to tear gas have been exhausted. Until now, tear gas has been used to disperse protesters and control critics of law enforcement. Tear gassing those who are exercising their 1st amendment right illustrate the very reason this practice must end.

  8. Police Claim…

    Officers intervening in a mental health crisis is now prohibited under the new law because that action could be classified as a “use of force.”

    The Truth…

    The new law does not prohibit police from doing their duty in life threatening situations or using appropriate and necessary force when applicable. Washington Police are willing to put the public at risk to avoid accountability.