Bill to expand standard for vehicular pursuit “simply not enough,” says Senate Republican Leader

OLYMPIA… Senate Republican Leader John Braun today provided the following comments after the Senate’s narrow passage of legislation that is a half-step toward letting law-enforcement officers engage in vehicular pursuits in more situations than Washington law has allowed since 2021.

Senate Bill 5352 was passed with a 26-22 vote, representing the mixed feelings about the bill on both sides of the aisle. Some law enforcement organizations and victims’ families have said the final version of the bill does not do enough to protect the public. Sen. Braun agrees.

“As I’ve said before, SB 5352 is only a half-step in the right direction. And, while I appreciate that the majority allowed a pursuit-reform bill to pass the Legislature, I am disappointed that certain legislators, through their own hubris, posed such an enormous barrier to improving public safety.

“Democrats continue to frame this argument with a false choice between protecting life vs protecting property. It’s all about protecting life. They are the ones quoting bad data and ignoring the experiences of the police and victims who have shared their stories. And that’s a dereliction of duty.

“I believe our law-enforcement officers are trained and capable of making good choices regarding pursuits and should be trusted to do so. The majority’s maneuvering on this issue demonstrates a clear lack of trust in the police, which has been part of a larger assault against law enforcement. And we are all suffering because of it. Crime is out of control. The police need more tools, not fewer.

“Despite SB 5352 being inadequate, I know my Democratic colleagues will say they acted on pursuit-reform. I voted no because SB 5352 is simply not enough. This is not over. Republicans will continue to fight for additional pursuit reform. We must do better.”