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Policing bills passed by the 2021 Washington State Legislature

Related to our Part 3 story on the future of policing in Edmonds, here’s a list of new policing bills passed by the 2021 State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. Some laws take effect on July 1; others are phased in over the next two years. We have condensed some content of the laws to make them easier to read.

HB 1054 – Police Tactics – effective date July 25, 2021

  • Prohibits the use of a chokehold or neck restraint in any circumstance.
  • Prohibits no-knock warrants.
  • States the Criminal Justice Training Commission will develop a statewide model policy for training/use of K-9 teams.
  • Prohibits the use of tear gas except in three circumstances: harm posed by a riot, barricaded subject or hostage situation.
  • States that prior to deploying tear gas, law enforcement officers must exhaust available and appropriate alternatives; obtain authorization from a supervising officer; announce the intent to use tear gas and allow sufficient time and space for the subject(s) to comply.
  • Prohibits use or acquisition of military equipment; agencies must return or destroy any military equipment by Dec. 31, 2022.
  • Requires uniformed officers are identifiable (for example, a name badge).
  • Prohibits vehicle pursuits unless the officer has probable cause that a crime (violent or sex offense) has been/is being committed; there is a reasonable suspicion of DUI and other stipulations.
  • Prohibits a law enforcement officer from firing a weapon at a moving vehicle.

HB 1310 – Use of Force – effective July 25, 2021

  • Authorizes a law enforcement officer to use deadly force only when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or deat
  • Requires that an officer exhaust available and appropriate de-escalation tactics prior to using any physical force.
  • When using physical force, an officer is required to use the least amount of physical force necessary.
  • Requires police to terminate the use of physical force as soon as the necessity for it ends.
  • By July 1, 2022, the State Attorney General must develop a model policy on law enforcement use of force and de-escalation tactics statewide.
  • Requires basic training provided by the Criminal Justice Training Commission be consistent with the use-of-force requirements and limitations and the Attorney General’s model policy on use of force and de-escalation.

SB 5051 – Decertification of Officers – effective July 25, 2021

  • Establishes criteria for mandatory statewide standards to de-certify police and corrections officers.
  • The Criminal Justice Training Commission may conduct independent investigations into allegations of improper conduct.
  • The Criminal Justice Training Commission may issue public recommendations regarding law enforcement agencies’ command decisions, inadequacy of policy or training, investigations or disciplinary decisions regarding misconduct, potential systemic violations of law or policy, unconstitutional policing, or other matters.
  • Expands requirements on pre-hire background checks
    • Requires law enforcement and corrections agencies to report to the Criminal Justice Training Commission within 15 days of death or serious injury caused by the use of force by an officer or any time an officer has been charged with a crime.
  • Specifies that the Criminal Justice Training Commission shall have the sole authority to provide basic law enforcement training.

SB 5066 – Duty to Intervene – July 25, 2021

  • Requires any identifiable law enforcement officer who witnesses another officer using or attempting to use excessive force to intervene to end and/or prevent the use of excessive force and report to their supervisor.
  • Incorporates the duty to render first aid into the newly created duty to intervene.
    • Prohibits law enforcement agencies from imposing discipline or retaliate in any way against an officer for intervening in good faith or reporting in good faith as required by the bill.
  • Requires law enforcement agencies to send notice to the Criminal Justice Training Commission of any disciplinary action from a law enforcement officer’s failure to intervene or failure to report.
  • Requires the Criminal Justice Training Commission to develop a written model policy on the duty to intervene by Dec. 1, 2021.
  • Requires the Criminal Justice Training Commission to provide duty to intervene training by Dec. 31, 2023 to all officers who completed basic law enforcement training prior to Jan. 31, 2022.

HB 1267 – Office of Independent Investigations – effective date July 25, 2021

  • Creates the Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor and designates that office as the lead investigative body for any investigation it chooses to conduct under its jurisdiction.
  • Requires all law enforcement agencies to immediately notify the Office of Independent Investigations of any incident.
  • Requires the Office of Independent Investigations Advisory Board to determine whether that office should be expanded to conduct investigations of other types of incidents committed by involved officers, such as in-custody deaths and sexual assaults by law enforcement officers.

Additional new policing-related laws include:

HB 1089 – Audits of Investigations – effective July 25, 2021
State Auditor with the Criminal Justice Training Commission to conduct an audit of any deadly force investigation.

SB 5476 –Statewide Substance Abuse Recovery Service plan: effective July 1, 2021.
Makes simple possession of controlled substances a gross misdemeanor instead of a felony

HB 1223 – Uniform Electronic Recording of Custodial Interrogations –effective Jan. 2, 2020
Requires that any custodial interrogation of an adult for a felony offense, or a juvenile of any offense, be electronically recorded.

HB 1140 – Juvenile Access to Attorneys – effective Jan. 1, 2022
Requires juvenile (under the age of 18) access to an attorney for consultation prior to a juvenile waiving any constitutional rights if the officer:

  • Questions a juvenile during a custodial interrogation.
  • Detains a juvenile based on probable cause of involvement in criminal activity.
  • Requests that a juvenile consent to an evidentiary search of their person, property, dwelling or vehicle.

HB 1088 – Potential Impeachment Disclosures/Brady List – effective July 25, 2021
Requires each county prosecutor to develop and adopt a written protocol no later than July 1, 2022 regarding:

  • The types of conduct that must be disclosed.
  • How Brady/potential impeachment disclosure information should be shared and maintained, and what circumstances an officer may be removed from the Brady/potential impeachment disclosure.

It also requires:

  • Local Brady/potential impeachment disclosure protocols to be reviewed every two years.
  • The Criminal Justice Training Commission to provide online Brady/potential impeachment disclosure training.
  • Law enforcement agencies to report Brady/potential impeachment disclosures within 10 days.
  • Law enforcement agencies, prior to hiring an officer with previous law enforcement experience, to inquire and verify whether the officer has ever been subject to a Brady/potential impeachment disclosure.

HB 1320 – Protection Orders – effective July 25, 2021 and July 1, 2022

  • Consolidates and amends laws governing protection orders for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, anti-harassment, vulnerable adults and extreme risk.

SB 5055 – Grievance Arbitration Panels – effective July 25, 2021

  • Establishes a rotating pool of law enforcement grievance arbitrators at the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).

SB 5259 – Law Enforcement Data Collection – effective July 25, 2021

  • Requires the State Attorney General to contract with a college or university to establish and administer a Washington law enforcement use-of-force reporting system.


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