Important police reform legislation advances
After two years of hard work, House Bill 2668, which changes state bail practices, passed out of the House Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee with a 9-1 vote. Rep. Mike Hope sponsored the bill, which would change bail practices based on recommendations from the 2010 Bail Practices Work Group. During brief testimony, Hope explained that the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs (COMPAS) was also in support of the legislation.
“This bill is supported by over two thousand currently commissioned law enforcement officers in Seattle and King County,” said Hope, R-Lake Stevens.
If the bill were to become law, bail bondsmen and those released on bail would have new restrictions and tougher guidelines to follow.Hope believes additional laws are needed to tighten up the practice even further, such as bail minimums and super forms.
“This legislation makes some great changes to current bail practices and could help stop future tragedies. Does it cover every single issue that needs to be changed about bail? No. But I’m confident that we will address all the issues covered by the work group in due time,”Hope said.
The Blue Alert system, created by Hope sponsored House Bill 1820, also advanced yesterday. The bill had an uncontested hearing in House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee.
The BLUE Alert system, which mirrors AMBER Alert, would help law enforcement agencies to catch a person suspected of harming or killing an officer. This legislation is supported by law enforcement associations from across the state including COMPAS, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and the Washington State Patrol.
“A person who is willing to shoot a police officer is also very likely to kill and injure someone else, especially if they are trying to escape. Blue Alert would help us apprehend fugitives faster and protect both the police and public,” Hope said.
House Bill 1820 moved to House Ways and Means Committee where it is expected to receive another hearing, and House Bill 2668 will likely advance to the floor for a vote.