Washington Coalition on Police Accountability
Disability Rights Washington is proud to be a member of the Washington Coalition on Police Accountability (WCPA), a community coalition working to center the voices of families affected by police violence and achieve meaningful changes in policing in Washington State. Built on the work of De-escalate Washington and Initiative 940, the WCPA is involved in key, statewide legislative efforts, including creating an independent agency to investigate police use of force and banning dangerous practices like chokeholds, no-knock warrants and shooting at moving vehicles.
De-Escalate Washington & Initiative 940
The Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act (Initiative 940), which was run through the De-Escalate Washington campaign and passed into law in 2018, improves police training in de-escalation tactics, mental health, and the rendering of first aid. It also removes Washington State’s de facto immunity from prosecution for unjustified use of deadly force by police.
On November 6, 2018 Initiative 940 passed with strong voter support statewide. Learn more here.
During the 2019 legislative session, additional changes to the initiative were made with the support of both community advocates and law enforcement. The legislation reflecting these changes (HB 1064) was the first bill to be signed into law by Governor Inslee in 2019.
Disability Rights Washington is proud to be a part of this ongoing work.
2021 Legislative Updates:
During the 2021 legislative session, Washington law makers passed HB 1310, a new law governing when and how police can use force against members of the public. The law creates an expectation for officers to de-escalate and requires police to exercise care in the use of any force, in order to reduce violence and prioritize the sanctity of life. However, some law enforcement agencies in Washington are dangerously misinterpreting the new law. They claim that newly-enacted HB 1310 means they can no longer respond to or assist people experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
These police agencies have raised worthwhile questions about society’s over-reliance on police to respond to behavioral health crisis. However, their claims and actions around the specific effects of HB 1310 are incorrect and harmful, putting the most vulnerable among us at risk. In reality, this new law foregrounds sanctity of life and supports the use of different tools for law enforcement, to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable communities.
Click here to read more about this.