I-940 affects on police force


I-940 has been approved for weeks now, and yet the debate over it goes on.

Alexus Jacobs, Staff Reporter

     On November 6, millions of Washingtonians cast their voting ballots to make their voices heard around the state. The rest of America did so as well for the midterm elections, selecting various Senate representatives and passing different citizen-made laws depending on state issues.

     Initiative Measure Number 940 or I-940 concerned law enforcement. Approved, the initiative now requires law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training as well as reduce their use of deadly force with a ‘good faith’ standard that was also added with the approval.

     Police are now able to be prosecuted and investigated for any ‘rough’ handling of suspects, making it easier for officers to lose their jobs if the court rules against them. The only thing that protects officers from the threat of investigation is if they use their practice routine of how to handle situations and evidence of such routine.

     Opposers of the initiative used the likely circumstances of a school shooting or any shooting for that matter to illustrate the flaws in the reduction of deadly force. They claimed that before an officer was to aid any victims, they were to aid the suspect first, possibly causing more fatalities. Even after that, the officer could still be prosecuted. There’s also the fact that police officers are trained and paid for their use of deadly force to keep communities safe.

     Supporters of I-940 argue if officers are trained in the use of first-aid, violence de-escalation and mental-health, then they’d be able to communicate well with people from different walks of life and act appropriately in highly stressful situations.

     Both sides of the ongoing argument on training and de-escalation of law enforcement have the well-being of Washington’s communities in mind with the support and opposition of approved Initiative 940.