At midnight, police departments regained the ability to engage in reasonable pursuits of criminals in Washington State.  It's been quite the journey to get back to almost the exact same place we were before July of 2021.  That was when the State Legislature prohibited police pursuits except in the most extreme situations.

Canva
Canva
loading...

The criminals figured it out fast.  Classified as a property crime, auto theft didn't fall under the parameters that met the pursuit law.  By the end of 2022 Washington State was in the top three in the nation for stolen vehicles.  A small modification to the pursuit law came in 2023 when six violent crimes were added to the list but auto theft was left out.

102.7 KORD logo
Get our free mobile app

Later in 2023 a group called Let's Go Washington began collecting signatures around the State for six Initiatives to go directly to the Legislature.  One of those Initiatives, 2113, dealt with restoring the ability for police to pursue to similar standards that existed  pre-2021.  2113 maintains some of the aspects of the 2021 law, like notifying a supervisor about initiating a pursuit, but it allows for anything that poses a threat to public safety to fall under the ability to pursue.

On January 11th 2024 the Secretary of State's Office certified that I-2113 had enough valid signatures to be presented to the legislature.  At the beginning of the Legislative Session in January, leaders in the majority party said they would not hold hearings on any of the six initiatives that were certified.

Democrats eventually relented and allowed for thee Initiatives to have hearings, including 2113.  They were passed out of committee in each chamber on March 1st, setting up floor votes in the State House and Senate on March 4th.

This is how the Senate voted

This is how the House voted

The Kennewick Police Department laid out a great explanation on their Facebook page as to what restoration of police pursuits will mean for them and their mission of public safety in the community.

We will see if the criminals respond as quickly to the ability for police to pursue them at the same clip they did in July of 2021.  Only time will tell, but for now, the free ride in Washington State is over.

Washington State Patrol Infraction Count in 2024

More From 102.7 KORD