A lot of new legislation was recently passed that changes the way police departments respond to issues and manage their departments. Nearly all the new legislation is set to go into effect on July 25 and Quincy Police Department is already a step ahead.
State lawmakers in the most recent legislative session passed bills that affect how police officers do their jobs.
The new legislation includes ESHB1054 and SSB5066.
ESHB1054 prohibits peace officers from using chokeholds and neck restraints. It also restricts the use of tear gas, vehicular pursuits and firing upon moving vehicles. The legislation also abolishes no-knock warrants and requires officers to be “reasonably identifiable.”
The bill also prohibits the use or acquisition of military equipment which was defined as firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater. As a result, 12-gauge shotguns and bean bag rounds will not be permitted. All military equipment must be removed from inventory or destroyed by Dec. 31, 2022.
SSB5066 requires officers to intervene when witnessing another officer “engaging in the use of excessive force” and report to a supervisor when they witness another officer committing wrongdoing.
Quincy Police Department Chief Kieth Siebert said that most of the new legislation does not affect the Quincy Police Department because they had already instituted policies prior that aligned with the new legislation.
A lot of the new legislation also changes the way and the types of situations that police typically respond to. It moves the role of police from civil matters, mental-health situations and certain situations where there is not an immediate danger to the public, to other community or state resources that are more equipped to handle those specific situations.
Siebert said he does not want the new legislation to stop community members from calling for police. While they may not be able to respond in the ways they have before, the chief said QPD is committed to getting those calls to the proper resources.
“Our response may look different but we are still committed to our community,” Siebert said.
For more information on these or other house bills, visit https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/