Wash. state patrol dashcam videos show failure-to-stop incidents amid pursuit reforms

The agency released videos that show multiple drivers refusing to stop for deputies who cannot pursue them


By Suzie Ziegler 

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Police reforms in Washington state have frustrated local law enforcement to varying degrees since sweeping new use-of-force policies were enacted in 2020 and revised in 2021. But perhaps none of the reforms have been quite as contentious as a new pursuit policy

In a report last month, multiple police leaders in Washington state asserted that more drivers are refusing to stop for police than ever before. Some leaders attributed that perceived uptick to a new pursuit policy that bars officers from engaging in high-speed pursuits unless there’s reasonable suspicion the driver is impaired or if there’s probable cause the driver has committed a violent crime. 

Giving some credence to that claim was a Washington State Patrol (WSP) report that logged 934 failure-to-yield incidents in the first half of 2022. The WSP just recently began tracking this information, so it cannot be compared to an earlier period. Still, the WSP believes that a growing number of drivers are fleeing traffic stops, according to KOMO News.  

The WSP shared new dashcam video with KOMO News that shows multiple incidents of drivers fleeing police. The compilation video shows motorists speeding off, nearly hitting other drivers and driving onto the road’s shoulder even as police blare their sirens. Another clip shows a car thief using a stolen car to ram past squad cars. 

Troopers didn’t pursue the drivers in these cases because none of them met the new pursuit criteria, according to KOMO News.  

“Our concern is always for the public safety,” Sgt. Darren Wright told KOMO News. “We want to do what’s best for the public and make sure everyone stays safe, that’s our primary goal.” 

NEXT: The implications of pursuit policy for the officer, department, and community 

 

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