Legal Memo Says Reform Law Doesn’t Prevent Police Response | Washington News

Katie R. Ochoa

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A legal memo from the Washington Lawyer General’s place of work suggests that the state’s new law enforcement use-of-drive law does not stop officers from responding to non-criminal calls like mental wellbeing and other neighborhood welfare phone calls.

Various Washington law enforcement organizations had signaled their intent to stop responding to phone calls for services involving non-felony routines mainly because of a measure that instructs officers to, amid other things, exhaust de-escalation techniques and “(leave) the space if there is no danger of imminent damage and no criminal offense has been dedicated.” The bill was 1 of numerous law enforcement reform charges that the Legislature handed this calendar year, and which took result July 25.

Northwest Information Community noted Thursday that in the memo to point out lawmakers this week, Deputy Solicitor Typical Alicia Young and Assistant Legal professional Standard Shelley Williams wrote that the law “neither alters nor restrictions (the) authority” of law enforcement to reply to non-criminal calls for support.

The lawyers claimed that Washington courts and regulation identify a thing termed the “community caretaking doctrine” and cited a 2019 Washington Supreme Court opinion that termed law enforcement officers “jacks of all trades” who “frequently have interaction in neighborhood caretaking features that are unrelated to the detection and investigation of criminal offense.”

The memo is not thought of a formal authorized belief from the attorney general’s business office, but was just a “carefully considered legal opinion” of the authors.

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Rep. Jesse Johnson, the vice chair of the General public Safety committee and the key sponsor of the measure in problem, claimed he programs to ask for a formal viewpoint from the legal professional general’s office environment, which could get many months.

“We hope this strong direction from the Attorney General’s Office environment is clarifying,” Johnson explained. “We have been working with regulation enforcement agencies and organizations to be certain they have the clarity to do their jobs.”

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs despatched a letter to its customers in July that reported legislative motion would be the finest way to address “unintended consequences” of the new rules, but also said an viewpoint from the attorney general’s business would be valuable.

“What an officer is authorized to do whilst on scene is now substantially distinct, but we see very little that prohibits or if not limitations the capacity for an officer to answer to any get in touch with for provider,” wrote Steve Strachan, the association’s executive director.

Strachan also warned companies that adopting a policy of not-responding to particular phone calls could operate afoul of the general public responsibility doctrine.

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