I-940 supporters look to amend initiative with help of law enforcement

I-940 supporters look to amend initiative with help of law enforcement (PHOTO: KOMO News)

Supporters of the I-940 'use of deadly force' initiative said they are making history by standing side-by-side with law enforcement. The voters overwhelmingly approved the measure, but the sponsors say they hope to make the initiative even better.

"I want you to look behind me at all of the people who have come together, unified in this effort," said state Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Tri Cities), who is also a sheriff's deputy. "It is absolutely, positively amazing." He was in awe of the gathering at the state capitol Monday of law enforcement and those affected by officer involved shootings.

"This is an incredible time not only our state but in our country for us to stand forward and set a precedent of what police accountability looks like, not only here, but for all over this country," said I-940 supporter Andre Taylor. He lost his brother, Che, in a police shooting and helped drive I-940 to victory a month ago.

But he said they knew they wanted to form a coalition with law enforcement, just like they did during the last legislative session, to make I-940 better and more acceptable to police.

"And our historic agreement has required cooperation, mutual respect and genuinely listening and acknowledging perspectives of others," said Steve Strachan of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The result will be more de-escalation training for all officers, not just rookie officers. If there is an unavoidable lapse in that training, it will not result in de-certification of the officer. All sides said the new agreement makes I-940 easier to understand..

"It works, it really does," said Carlos Bratcher of the Black Law Enforcement Association of Washington. "It is about saving lives. And, it also helps to keep officers safe and it helps to rebuild that trust with the communities where that trust has been lost."

"Initiative-940 has a fairly long and complicated standard and the consensus agreement simplifies it," said Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) at a meeting of the House Public Safety Committee. Even though the legislative session doesn't officially open until Jan. 14, 2019, the committee got a head start on it Monday with the promise they'll take early action on it during the session.

"This is a moment that the whole country can look to of how to improve community and police relations," state Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle).

It is not a done deal. A two-thirds majority is needed to amend an initiative, but the group feels confident the votes will be there. If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, it'll take effect immediately.

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