Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I have heard a lot of questions and concerns about proposed House Bill 1529 that would remove the malice standard from current law for officers involved in the use of deadly force. This issue is under review across the country, including right here in Washington state. I will continue to work hard for the rights of our law enforcement officers to remain protected in their decisions, actions and overall duties.
Under current law, a police officer or peace officer cannot be held criminally liable for using deadly force when it is used without malice and with a good faith intent. The Washington State Joint Legislative Task Force on Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing has recommended removing the malice requirement and explicit reference to “good faith” out of current law. In response to these recommendations, House Bill 1529 was introduced.
Recently, the House Public Safety Committee held a public hearing on HB 1529. There are still divided sides on this bill, the issue at hand, and where we will find common ground. Washington state has the best trained officers in the country. The malice and in good faith components make our state unique by giving the strongest protection to our officers.
There are about 18,000 police departments in the U.S., about 800,000 state and local police officers, and another 120,000 federal police officers. Incidents of deadly force are a very small fraction of the millions of interactions actually taking place between police officers and the communities they serve. The vast majority of hardworking cops operate within the law and with a conscience. I have completed a career as a police officer and have chosen to do the right thing over and over, even in the face of adversity and temptation to do otherwise. I saw my fellow officers provide the same honorable service.
I am proud of the 22-year career I had with the Spokane Police Department. I made a positive difference in many people’s lives. Those who walk away from a career in law enforcement and fire are blessed to know they made a difference. Not many people can say that. Please support your local law enforcement officers and the protections they deserve.
Please take a moment to watch my video on my personal testimony of being a police officer. You can do so by clicking the image below. Thank you.
It’s an honor to serve as your state representative.