Friday, February 16, 2018

De-escalation bill gets hearing Tuesday night

This is a bill submitted by the People of Washington, by way of our initiative process. The House Public Safety and Senate Law and Justice will hold a joint hearing on I-940 in Olympia on Tuesday at 7 pm. Hearing details here.


In 2016, the legislature set up a task force to review laws, practices, and training programs regarding use of deadly force in Washington and other states, and to make recommendations. Legislation based on those recommendations was introduced in the House and Senate last year, but failed to advance. So community groups involved in that effort joined to launch a citizen's initiative to the legislature. You can read about De-Escalate Washington here.

You can read Ballotpedia's summary of of the initiative here (includes arguments of supporters and opponents).

Initiative 940 requires law enforcement across the state to receive training on violence de-escalation, mental health, and first aid. It also:
  • Requires officers to provide first aid at the scene under certain circumstances
  • Establishes a good faith standard for use of deadly force
  • Requires independent investigation for use of deadly force
  • Requires the involvement of tribes in investigations if their members are killed or injured
  • Mandates that the community be involved in developing policy for curriculum and training hours, guidelines for rendering first aid, and procedures for the independent investigations
The legislature can pass or reject the bill, suggest an alternative, or do nothing. If it rejects or does nothing, the initiative goes to the people in November. If it suggests an alternative, both I-940 and the alternative go to the voters.