Washington State Patrol (WSP) officials are concerned about citizens no longer stopping for them.
A Thursday report stated that between January 1st and May 17th of this year, WSP logged 934 failure-to-yield instances, which is what longtime officers agree is an unprecedented phenomenon.
According to Northwest News Network, “[T]he patrol and other police agencies around the state say they’ve never seen such blatant disregard for their lights and sirens. The change in driver behavior comes after state lawmakers passed strict new rules on when police can engage in pursuits.”
Sgt. Darren Wright, a WSP spokesperson with three decades of experience, told Northwest News that “[S]omething’s changed. People are not stopping right now. It’s happening three to five times a shift on some nights and then a couple times a week on day shift.”
Executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Steve Strachan added that “[I]t used to be sort of unusual and notable to see someone flee or to see someone simply choose not to stop on a traffic stop. Now it’s becoming incredibly common.”
Many officers are saying that HB1054, a law enacted last year limiting police from engaging in many vehicular pursuits “in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other high-profile police killings,” is to blame.
As an example, Strachan referred to a 911 call where a driver with a suspended license said “he’s not going to get me. It’s a violation of 1054. He’s not allowed to chase me. You need to tell them to call it off.”