New police reform laws are now in effect in Washington. While supporters say they should increase accountability, local law enforcement leaders have some concerns.
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Several bills to address police reform officially became law last week in Washington.
Some of the reforms have to do with the use of physical force. The old rule allowed officers to physically detain someone if they had a reasonable suspicion they'd committed a crime. Now the bar is raised to probable cause, a higher level of legal certainty.
Vancouver police chief James McElvain said probable cause can take time to develop.
“To keep our community safe I prefer the reasonable suspicion approach, we may have to let somebody go who actually committed a crime but we didn't have probable cause to make that detention and make the arrest, they may simply get away,” said McElvain.
McElvain added that the force restrictions may make domestic violence and even mental health crisis calls harder for officers to manage.