Washington State’s Democrat legislators, in a hurry to take advantage of some of the supportive public sentiment towards the riots over the death of George Floyd (lessened after Capitol Hill was occupied), passed a flurry of laws during the last session. All the new laws were aimed at advancing the Democrats’ extreme social agenda, and neutering law enforcement’s ability to keep your neighborhood safe.
House BIll 1310 created new restrictions for law enforcement officers and when they can restrain or arrest people who are a danger to themselves or others. Because the soft-on-crime Democrats were in such a rush to pass anything they could, there are no clear rules for how to handle crisis situations. This leaves law enforcement open to potential lawsuits, criminal prosecution and disciplinary actions if they run afoul of the whims of liberal politicians.
The result? Unsurprisingly, law enforcement officials are refusing to respond to anything but the most egregious crimes, where there is clear felony activity. Otherwise the officers open themselves up to a potential stretch in the same jail cell with the criminal they just tried to arrest.
Got a neighbor tripped out on meth? Someone in the street suffering a mental breakdown? Your best friend setting fire to their house or threatening to throw rocks at traffic? None of these public safety crises are something law enforcement can now respond to, but according to legislative Democrats, that is just fine.
Crimes that used to have to meet the “reasonable suspicion” threshold before an officer would act, now have to meet the “probable cause” standard. In other words, the officer has to believe a crime has been committed. Even when it’s obvious a crime has been committed, there is no certainty the Democrat-run State Supreme Court will keep the bad guys (and gals) in jail, as they recently proved by accepting the “I don’t know what’s in my pants” defense.
In the good old days, before the Democrats decided they knew how to run police departments better than the professionals, a police officer could arrest an individual who was acting out and help them to a comfortable jail cell or medical facility to prevent them from hurting anyone else or themselves.
Now, it seems, in the Democrat utopian law enforcement world, you can set your neighbor’s house on fire and as long as you didn’t mean it, you won’t get arrested.
The negative fallout from trained law enforcement officers has been swift.
Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla told the Associated Press, “The laws were written very poorly, and the combination of them all at the same time has led to there being conflicts in clarity and in what was intended versus what was written.”
Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, trying to make the bad situation a little better, explained on the Sheriff’s Facebook page that officers will still respond, but if no crime has been committed, they may leave the scene.
Democrat Governor Jay Inslee (who wanders through life under constant State Patrol armed protection and sleeps in a taxpayer-funded mansion) said, when signing the bills into law in May, that it was a “moral mandate” to reduce the use of force. In another scary Inslee moment, the Spokesman Review reports Inslee said, regarding his party’s assault on public safety, “This is the beginning. This is not the end.”
After a year of Inslee’s dictatorial rule, statements like that strike fear into any normal Washington resident.
Instead of actually helping, as usual, the Democrats have created more problems with their “reforms” which will need more Democrat-sponsored laws, taxpayer money, and Inslee “emergency” orders to deal with the fallout.
The Democrats are not done messing with reducing public safety yet. Next year, expect to see more legislation to weaken law enforcement (which will increase crime), reduce criminal penalties, and make your neighborhood less safe.
Democrats seem to think law enforcement is one big social experiment. When the experiment fails, they will just point at Republicans, and say it was their fault. Then you can count on them raising taxes to pay for new programs to fix their messes and move on to their next ill-thought liberal experiment with your life.