Legislative Updates: Policing in Pullman

Legislative Updates: Revised Impacts to Policing in Pullman
Posted on 03/09/2022


March 9, 2022

Gary Jenkins, Chief of Police

Pullman Police Department

(509) 334-0802


Legislative Updates:
Revised Impacts to Policing in Pullman


PULLMAN – Last year, a number of police reform bills were passed by the Washington State Legislature. At that time, the Pullman Police Department provided information outlining the impacts of those bills on local law enforcement activities, including changes to the less-lethal options available for use by officers, as well as impacts to pursuit and use-of-force procedures. During the State’s most recent legislative session, legislation was passed to mitigate the unintended consequences of last year’s bills. The following bills have emergency clauses, and are effective immediately upon signature by Governor Inslee:


HB 1719

Legislation passed last year prohibited law enforcement from using any firearm greater than .50 caliber. This included the 40mm less-lethal impact device, which can be deployed to temporarily incapacitate persons who pose a threat of bodily harm to officers and the public. This device is very similar to a “bean bag” device, except that it is more accurate and less likely to cause injury. HB 1719 redefines weapons for prohibited use by law enforcement to include rifles only, allowing Pullman PD to redeploy the less-lethal impact device as a deescalation tool.


HB 1735 & HB 2037

Previous legislation restricted officers from using any degree of force, unless “probable cause” existed to arrest, prevent an escape (after arrest), or protect someone from imminent harm. This eliminated the ability for officers to conduct temporary investigatory detentions. It also prohibited law enforcement from taking anyone suffering from a mental health crisis into involuntary protective custody and subsequently transporting them to the hospital for evaluation. HB 1735 and HB 2037 restore the ability of law enforcement to conduct temporary investigatory detentions based on reasonable suspicion, and the option to take a subject into mental health protective custody.


SB 5919

Legislation passed last year restricted officers from conducting pursuits absent “probable cause” that a person in the vehicle had committed a violent offense or DUI, or was a public safety risk. The probable cause standard virtually eliminated the ability for law enforcement to pursue a suspect of a violent crime. SB 5919 maintains the pursuit restriction to serious types of crimes, but returns to the standard of “reasonable suspicion”.


These revisions provide officers with options that are essential to maintaining a safe community. The Pullman Police Department thanks all who assisted in providing these important revisions.