Law Enforcement Legislation 2021

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Consultation has concluded

The Washington State Legislature enacted a series of new policing laws during the 2021 legislative session, some that change the way law enforcement services are delivered.

Local governments and law enforcement agencies across the state, including the City of Bellingham, are working to adjust to the impacts of these change, some of which became effective on July 25, 2021.

The legislation included changes to police tactics, handling of mental health calls, officer certification and decertification, use of civilian oversight boards to investigate use of force cases and more. Summaries of the most significant bills are posted on the 2021 Law Enforcement Legislation page of the City website.

Bellingham Police Department leaders and other City officials are reaching out to the community to explain the changes and how local policing and other City services will be impacted. The 2021 Law Enforcement Legislation page of the City website provides links to a video overview of legislative changes, as well as summaries of each new law.

We invite members of the public to use the options below to ask questions and provide feedback as we work to understand and implement new requirements.

The Washington State Legislature enacted a series of new policing laws during the 2021 legislative session, some that change the way law enforcement services are delivered.

Local governments and law enforcement agencies across the state, including the City of Bellingham, are working to adjust to the impacts of these change, some of which became effective on July 25, 2021.

The legislation included changes to police tactics, handling of mental health calls, officer certification and decertification, use of civilian oversight boards to investigate use of force cases and more. Summaries of the most significant bills are posted on the 2021 Law Enforcement Legislation page of the City website.

Bellingham Police Department leaders and other City officials are reaching out to the community to explain the changes and how local policing and other City services will be impacted. The 2021 Law Enforcement Legislation page of the City website provides links to a video overview of legislative changes, as well as summaries of each new law.

We invite members of the public to use the options below to ask questions and provide feedback as we work to understand and implement new requirements.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Staff is available to respond to your questions.  Questions and responses will be posted publicly after staff has responded to the question.

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    The Use of Force Statistics He does a poor job of interpreting use of force data, provides the information in a PDF, and doesn’t allow a user to have access to the raw data. With the new law requiring reporting, will the city begin providing the required raw data (in a spreadsheet form, not PDF) on its website so residents can see it for themselves?

    Krod71 asked 11 months ago

    The use of force data law enforcement agencies are required to collect and report to the State of Washington by the new legislation is data the Bellingham Police Department already collected prior to July 25th.  There are only a couple of minor points of data which we will need to add, based on the passage of the law (such as were there minor children present.) We collect data on use of force which the state does not require, even under the new law, and have provided that to the community via our website for quite some time.  SB5259 requires agencies to report on use of force in the following instances:

     - fatality, great bodily harm, substantial bodily harm OR

     - Discharged a firearm, pointed a firearm, chokehold or vascular neck restraint, taser use, oc spray, less lethal impact munitions, impact weapon, physically strike, vehicle strike and K9 use.  

    BPD reports on uses of force less than a physical strike (such as a wrist twist or other pain compliance technique) used to take an uncooperative person into custody.  The reason our use of force reporting is so thorough is because we are an accredited agency through the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASPC) and follow their accreditation standards.  The standard to which we adhere and report use of force by is WASPC accreditation standard 3.5. 

    When the portal to report use of force information to the state of Washington is built and capable of receiving data, we will report said data to the state in the format they require.  Until that time, BPD will continue to provide our use of force statistics  on our website, as we have for many years, to ensure the public can easily see our statistics.