Tuesday September 21, 2021

Confusion besets new police reform laws in Washington state

July 27, 2021

SEATTLE: Washington state is embarking on a massive experiment in police reform and accountability following the racial justice protests that erupted after George Floyd’s murder last year, as nearly a dozen laws took effect Sunday. But two months after Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bills, law enforcement officials remain uncertain about what they require, leading to discrepancies around the state in how officers might respond — or not respond — to certain situations, including active crime scenes, welfare checks and mental health crises. “When you take the legislation and apply it, that’s when you really learn how effective it’s going to be,” said Rafael Padilla, the police chief in Kent, a south Seattle suburb. “The challenge is 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.”