Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

Disproportionate searches of Native American drivers in Washington State

January 3, 2020

This article reports an analysis of searches following vehicle stops by state troopers in Washington State from 2009 to 2015. Stops of Native American drivers were 6 times more likely to result in a search compared to the overall rate, but no more likely to lead to drugs, weapons, or other contraband being found. Critics point to high levels of traffic enforcement on the edges of reservations as one contributing factor. One tribal leader commented “You know, it’s always been that way. We would have never thought anybody else noticed it.”

Driving while high

November 16, 2019

Data from 2012 to 2016 indicate that “Colorado, Oregon, and Washington saw a combined 5.2% increase in the rate of police-reported crashes after legalizing recreational marijuana, compared with neighboring states where such sales are illegal,” as reported here. Figures on fatalities do not show the same trend, probably because “drivers who are high tend to drive at lower speeds.” Enforcement remains difficult due to limitations on detection as well as lack of clear-cut standards on the relationship between consumption and impairment.

Emergency medical training for police

November 11, 2019

This article describes an advanced 4-day training program for Seattle police officers already certified as EMTs. The training is “tailored for law enforcement officers who must first secure a violent scene before rendering aid, even amid the panic following an event like a mass shooting.” Nationally there is growing awareness that police need more than basic first aid and CPR training in order to save lives in the immediate aftermath of shootings — including the public and also their own life and those of other officers.

Autopsies hindered by organ donation

October 17, 2019

Organ donation has become more common over the years, and several states have enacted laws aimed at speeding up the “harvesting” process so that body parts can be preserved to help others in need. As reported here, these laws sometimes enable companies to secure parts, including skin and bones in addition to organs, before autopsies have been conducted. Investigations have been compromised — “In multiple cases, coroners have had to guess at the cause of death.”

Non-police crisis response

October 16, 2019

Denver has joined other cities considering adopting a mental health crisis response option that relies on mental health professionals rather than police, as reported here. The model cities are looking at is CAHOOTS, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, pioneered in Oregon. A police official in Eugene explains “Our police officers try the best they can, but they are not mental health professionals.” Mental health responders wear casual clothes and “That difference in uniforms can assist folks with letting their guard down and being open to accepting the help that is being offered.”

Jurisdictional complexity in tribal areas

September 19, 2019

This article describes some of the jurisdictional challenges faced in tribal policing. The legal authority of tribal and non-tribal police can depend on where an incident occurred, whether the victim is a tribal member, and whether the offender is a tribal member. One tribal attorney says “it’s a complete mess.” Potential solutions include collaborative agreements and cross-deputization, but issues related to sovereignty, liability, and trust often get in the way of making significant improvements.

Seattle bringing back non-sworn CSOs

June 26, 2019

Seattle PD will hire 12 non-sworn staff “to respond to noncriminal calls and help connect people with social services,” as reported here. The department had CSOs from 1971 until 2004 when the city dropped the program. In addition to serving as “system navigators,” the CSOs “will be responsible for conflict mediation, community outreach and at-risk youth programming.” The initiative is not billed primarily as a recruitment tool for eventual sworn status, but that path will be open to those interested and qualified.

Micro community policing in Seattle

June 25, 2019

Seattle uses micro community policing plans to engage its residents in 57 neighborhoods throughout the city, resulting in an 8-fold increase in proactive problem solving, according to the latest episode of “What’s New in Blue” from the COPS Office, available here as a 6-minute video. The emphasis is on addressing residents’ top 3 priorities in each neighborhood, recognizing that “one size doesn’t fit all.”

Collaboration rather than resistance

June 10, 2019

Washington State revised its statute on police use of deadly force last year, which previously was “impossibly narrow,” prohibiting only force based on evil intent or malice. The state’s minority racial and ethnic groups worked together on the initiative and police, seeing that some legislative action was inevitable, also collaborated “to take a leadership role in negotiations to change the negative narrative surrounding policing and add clarity to proposals that may not be practical.” As reported here, police in several other states have similarly engaged with activists and political leaders instead of merely resisting any and all changes.

Crime solving up after MJ legalization

May 18, 2019

Marijuana legalization initiatives went into effect in 2012 in Colorado and Washington. One hypothesized benefit of legalization was that police would have more time to devote to other responsibilities. This column reports a published study that found a post-legalization clearance rate uptick in the two states for several crime categories, plus positive trends compared to national averages. The study does not claim that legalization caused better clearance rates but it “undoubtedly resulted in the opportunity for agencies to reallocate resources.”