House approves police pursuit bill; Mosbrucker votes ‘yes,’ but warns it doesn’t go far enough

The state House of Representatives voted 57-40 just after midnight Tuesday morning on legislation that would allow police to engage in vehicular pursuits of criminals under limited circumstances.

Senate Bill 5352 would allow police pursuits of those suspected of committing a violent crime, a sex offense, domestic violence-related offenses, vehicle assault, driving under the influence, and trying to escape arrest.

The existing law, enacted in 2021, boosted the standard for police pursuits from “reasonable suspicion” to “probable cause,” which severely restricted law enforcement from engaging in vehicular pursuits in Washington state.

Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, ranking Republican on the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, was instrumental in negotiating for reforms that would restore the reasonable suspicion standard. However, the Senate bill’s title was narrowly written, which would restrict the conditions of which a pursuit can be initiated.

Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, voted “yes” on the Senate bill, saying its better than existing law. But she noted the proposal still falls far short of providing enough of the tools law enforcement officers need to protect public safety.

“If law enforcement officers are brave enough to put on a uniform and risk their lives, even willing to take a bullet for strangers, shouldn’t we be sure they’re able to continue to do their job? They’re fighting to keep us safe. We have to help them,” said Mosbrucker. “We have to do our job, which is to make sure we give them all the tools they need to do their jobs.”

The 14th District lawmaker said more is needed to ensure police can pursue and capture criminals.

“This is a step forward. It’s a small step forward. It’s too small of a step forward,” Mosbrucker told lawmakers on the House floor. “But at the end of the day, our job is to keep moving forward until we get to something people agree on.”

The bill was slightly amended in the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, which means it must return to the Senate for concurrence before advancing further.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov