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Inside Olympia – Police Reform

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In the second of a two-part series, we get perspectives from law enforcement organizations on police reform bills passed by the 2021 Legislature — and what they will mean for policing in Washington. Our guests are Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) Interim Executive Director Monica Alexander, and WA Fraternal Order of Police (WA FOP) Vice President James Schrimpsher.

Among the changes for the CJTC — which trains all police in Washington except for the State Patrol, and certifies all officers including WSP — are new training on police tactics and when the use of deadly force is justified. The biggest bill, however, for Alexander and the CJTC is Senate Bill 5051, which makes significant changes to the board with oversees the organization, expanding the board in order to add a number of community positions.

The bill also deals with how and when officers can be decertified. For example, deadly force incidents can now be cause for decertification, a change from current law. And, the CJTC can now temporarily suspend an officer’s certification while an investigation is conducted, rather than waiting for a final decision until an investigation is complete.

Besides being VP of WA FOP, Schrimpsher is police chief of the town of Algona. Schrimpsher says WA FOP supported some of the policing bills, opposed others, but those bills are now the law of Washington — and police need to work with the community and others to implement them in the best way possible.

One of his biggest concerns is over the stricter vehicle pursuit regulations that were included in House Bill 1054, the hotly debated bill that governs police tactics, from chokeholds to tear gas to vehicle pursuits. He says the new pursuit regulations will require significant retraining for police officers.

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