Sheriff’s office using social media to express frustration over police reform legislation

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is using social media to express frustration about police reform legislation. In a new video, Sheriff Adam Fortney outlines the daily challenges law enforcement is facing. He’s joined in the five-minute video by fellow Snohomish County police chiefs, mayors and council members. It shows video of brazen criminals fleeing crime scenes as police stand by.

One issue the video highlights is the limitations on vehicular pursuits. It’s a nod to House Bill 1054, which was passed last year. One element of the bill outlined new reforms for police during pursuits, requiring probable cause.

State Rep. Jesse Johnson sponsored the bill.

“It’s important to remember when we’re talking about reform, this is systemic transformation. So there’s going to be pushback,” says Johnson. “But it’s necessary to build trust and legitimacy in the public.”

Marysville Police Chief Erik Scairpon says law enforcement isn’t asking for more pursuits, just more authority. He says the law is hindering officers from doing their jobs.

“I can’t tell you how frustrating it is as a police chief to receive a call saying, ‘Hey, I saw people breaking into my car and I called 911. Your officers arrived, and the officers watched them drive away,” says Scairpon. He says even in cases like that, police can’t pursue under the law.

He says legislation creates more than brazen criminals.

“Those law enforcement reforms were a shock to the system, frankly. They caused a large number of law enforcement officers to leave the profession,” Scairpon said.

The video from Snohomish County ends by asking constituents to reach out to their state representatives.

But Rep. Johnson stands by the bill and says there have been no plans to make any amendments next session.

“I think that the bill absolutely did what it was intended to, and what we wanted to do was limit police violence, people killed by police,” said Johnson. “I believe we did that with House Bill 1054.’’