OLYMPIA, WA – Drivers in Washington are increasingly refusing to stop for law enforcement, and many believe that this behavior is related to a restrictive pursuit law passed last year.
According to NW News, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) has recorded a whopping 934 failure-to-yield incidents between January 1 and May 17 of 2022.
While these types of incidents have not been tracked in the past, veteran troopers are reporting that this number represents “a dramatic uptick in drivers fleeing traffic stops.”
Sgt. Darren Wright, WSP spokesperson and 31-year veteran of the department, stated:
“Something’s changed. People are not stopping right now.”
“It’s happening three to five times a shift on some nights and then a couple times a week on day shift.”
Other departments are noticing the same trend.
For instance, NW News reports that the Puyallup police department recorded 148 such instances between July 26, 2021 and May 18, 2022.
Puyallup Police Chief Scott Engle pointed out in an email that this trend was new and different, saying:
“I could 1,000,000% say this is completely absolutely emphatically totally unusual.”
The Washington State Patrol says drivers refusing to stop for troopers is an increasingly common occurrence. So far this year, the agency logged 934 failure-to-yield incidents. Troopers say there’s been a dramatic uptick in drivers fleeing traffic stops.https://t.co/FkQbRn3PNC
— KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW) May 31, 2022
Also, in Lakewood, Police Chief Mike Zaro told NW News that “drivers are refusing to stop for his officers on average once a day.”
“A lot of times they’re stolen cars; sometimes we don’t know what the deal is.”
Steve Strachan, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, confirmed that failure to stop for law enforcement is becoming increasingly “common,” reporting that he hears failure-to-yield stories “from his members across the state.”
He told NW News:
“It used to be sort of unusual and notable to see someone flee or to see someone simply choose not to stop on a traffic stop.
“Now it’s becoming incredibly common.”
This bill contained multiple police reforms, including limitations on restraints and tear gas, and the banning of the acquisition of or use of “military equipment.”
In addition, the bill declared: “A peace officer may not engage in a vehicular pursuit,” except in limited circumstances.
Those circumstances include a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is driving under the influence, the person is an “imminent threat to the safety of others,” or the person has committed or is committing a “violent offense or sex offense.”
Even with permission from a supervising officer to engage in pursuit, the bill still imposes restrictions. The officer and supervisor must consider alternatives and weigh all options and safety considerations before the pursuit is engaged.
Strachan suggested that drivers, aware of these restrictions, feel emboldened to ignore law enforcement traffic stops.
For example, Strachan told of a March 2022 incident with a driver with a suspended license.
The driver, who was being pursued by Redmond police, called 911 and cited House Bill 1054.
He or she was heard to say in a 911 recording:
“I’m driving suspended, he’s not going to get me.”
The driver continued:
“It’s a violation of 1054. He’s not allowed to chase me. You need to tell them to call it off.”
“He’s not going to get me; it’s a violation of [House Bill] 1054.” In March, a driver called 911 to say they weren’t going to stop for an officer and cited WA's new pursuit law. Police say they're seeing an epidemic of failing to stop: https://t.co/LPYYrPyplK #waleg #wagov
— Austin Jenkins N3 (@AustinJenkinsN3) May 27, 2022
Strachan said of these events:
“We have seen a significant change in the environment out there where the word is out … about this restriction.”
According to NW News, minority Republicans were critical of HB 1054.
Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, the ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, called the police reform laws “a colossal risk to public safety and the lives of our officers and citizens.” She called for a special session to change the new laws.
In fact, the Washington House and Senate did pass a bill that NW News notes “would have amended the new pursuit law in response to concerns from police that it was too restrictive.”
Unfortunately, the final version of the bill died in the Senate.
Those changes easing restrictions on policing were opposed by those who pushed for police reform.
"Thanks to House Bill 1054, passed by Democrats in Olympia, criminals can ignore police without fear that they’ll be pursued."
"Who could have seen this coming? The law enforcement members, nonpartisan policing experts, and Republican lawmakers who warned us this would occur." https://t.co/mXoTAxJvnQ
— Andy Stevens 🇺🇸 (@mrandystevens) June 1, 2022
Martina Morris, with Next Steps Washington, asked at a February 2022 rally:
“Why is it we are so concerned about hot pursuits?”
She continued by claiming:
“Because they are dangerous. They are the number two cause of deaths during encounters with police.”
State Rep. Jesse Johnson, sponsor of HB 1054, also spoke out against changing the threshold for pursuits, saying:
“I just do not believe pursuits in a 21st century policing system are needed.”
Democratic State Senator Manka Dhingra, chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, who also voted against reducing pursuit restrictions, said:
“We still want to make sure we’re catching the bad actors, but we cannot continue to put the community at risk with these high-speed chases.”
Instead, she said, “police have other ‘creative ways’ to follow up and investigate when a driver fails to stop.”
It isn’t just vehicular stops that criminals are ignoring, according to Strachan.
He called criminals “emboldened” with the passage of police reform laws, and pointed to a “near doubling of vehicle thefts.”
He told NW News:
“Nobody wants more pursuits, but we have to change this environment.”
“It’s going to take balanced approaches, and it’s going to take time to shift this environment back to something where the bad guys at least have some expectation that they may be held accountable.”
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Oops: Faced with spike in auto thefts, New Jersey reverses course on banning police pursuits of stolen vehicles
Originally published May 3, 2022
MARLBORO, NJ- Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Only months after the state of New Jersey prohibited that state’s police officers from engaging in pursuits, the state has reversed course after a spike in car thefts, according to New Jersey’s acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin, NJ.com reported.
Garden State officials said they would also utilize federal coronavirus funds in order to expand license plate technology to assist in tracking down stolen vehicles.
Stolen car complaints have skyrocketed in New Jersey since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, state officials announced as they unveiled the new law enforcement initiatives at a public event in Marlboro.
Officials said auto thefts are up 37% year to year over 2021, when 14,320 vehicles were stolen. The number of auto thefts is up 53% over 2020, Platkin said.
He noted that stolen vehicles do not always occur in a vacuum and are not “isolated incidents, saying that they are “increasingly linked” to shootings.
“This is a serious threat to our state’s safety,” he said, noting that thefts are occurring in both urban and suburban areas.
Last December, the state implemented an overhaul of the state’s use-of-force policy, the first in over twenty years. Under those new guidelines, auto thefts and most drug offenses were prohibited reasons for police to engage in pursuits. In essence, officers were only permitted to pursue vehicles for more serious crimes, such as murder and kidnapping.
At the time, New Jersey officials complained that chases frequently resulted in injuries to officers, third-parties, and pedestrians. However critics complain that change virtually handcuffed police officers and made it easier for criminals to get away with car thefts.
Platkin said state officials heard the concerns of police officers and have agreed to tweak the policy to permit police pursuits in car thefts and the “receiving” of a stolen vehicle.
“These changes will give law enforcement the tools that they need to meet the moment and to protect our communities while also being mindful of the inherent risks that come to officer safety and to the public when officers do engage in police pursuits,” Platkin said.
The reversal is currently only authorized through the end or the year when it will be reevaluated by his office.
At the same time, Gov. Phil Murphy announced New Jersey will use $10 million received from the American Rescue Plan—which was supposed to be used for COVID-19 relief—to help local law enforcement agencies obtain automatic license plate recognition technology (ALPR). Police agencies in the state will need to apply to the state for grant funding.
ALPR technology uses high-speed, automated cameras that capture and store images of license plates across the state in a centralized database, NJ.com said. This will aid police and other law enforcement authorities in tracking down stolen cars and arresting suspects. Such devices are installed at fixed location and on police cruisers.
Law enforcement officials said ALPR technology is already being used in urban areas, however, will now be expanded to the suburbs.
Murphy noted the recent spike in car thefts has “rattled families.”
“Crime does not stop at the municipal boundaries of our cities,” Murphy said. “This investment can mean less officer hours spent chasing leads and more of them spent recovering stolen vehicles and getting car thieves off of our streets.”
One city which has seen an increase in auto thefts is Marlboro, located in Monmouth County.
“The thefts have become more brazen, happening in broad daylight while people are unloading groceries,” Marlboro Mayor Jon Hronik said.
The plan for the new cameras is not without its detractors, as one might expect.
Marleina Ubel, policy analyst at a leftist think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective slammed the idea of using coronavirus funds to implement the license plate technology.
“American Rescue Plan funds were meant to help families and communities harmed most by the pandemic, not to expand police powers,” Ubel said. “Any kind of police access to surveillance technology where they can store that information shouldn’t be done at all, or at least with great discretion, because we know we have a culture of policing in this state that has resulted in New Jersey having the number one black-white disparity in incarceration in the nation.”
Always about race with these leftists.
Platkin dismissed those concerns, promising to “honor the strong privacy protections that have been in place in the state for well over a decade.”
He also reminded those in attendance that the Attorney General’s Office announced a couple of months back that it would spend $125,000 in federal funds to bolster its auto theft task force.
Platkin also cautioned residents to lock their car doors and not to keep key fobs—remotes to automatically unlock car doors—inside their vehicles. He said most thefts happen when such devices are stored inside a car.
“It turns out if you have a new vehicle, your car is really hard to steal—unless you leave the key fob in it,” Platkin said. “Then it’s remarkably easy to steal.”
For more on the failures of police “reform,” we invite you to read our prior reporting:
Defunding the police and cutting the prison population in half are ideas rejected by the vast majority of Americans regardless of demographics.
Democrats are retreating as fast as they can on justice reform. Per Politico and other national publications, they understand that they are going to lose the midterms unless they change their policies.
It seems that I no longer have much sympathy for progressives regarding crime and justice.
I swore that when I began my writings many years ago, I would be a fair and impartial source of information. All I ever wanted to do is to combine multiple sources of data on crime and come to logical conclusions.
Do I dislike progressives? No. I worked for Democrat-progressive government organizations for most of my professional life. But while I supported their desire to be more equitable and to provide second chances for offenders, most remained supportive of law enforcement and understood that there are many who deserve to be in prison. They respected the rights of victims.
Defund Law Enforcement-Cut The Prison Population In Half
Then progressives changed. Their focus became the offender, not the victim or the public’s safety. They gleefully beat up on law enforcement. I predicted a backlash reasserting support for policing back in November. It’s now happening. Even progressive publications are running the stories below.
The defund the police movement may be the dumbest thing to ever leave the mouths of advocates-politicians-media. Yea, a few cops committed incredibly stupid and illegal acts. So stipulated. We in the justice system need to own this. We need to improve.
But the result was the universal condemnation of a million cops and civilians based on the actions of a few, the theoretical basis for any form of racism, sexism, or any other “ism.” This resulted in thousands of officers leaving and the end of proactive policing, the only modality with an exhaustive research base indicating that it reduces violence and crime.
The second annoyance was candidate Biden’s pledge to cut the prison population in half.
“Would you commit to cutting incarceration by 50%?” Albert asks Biden. “More than that. We can do it more than that,” he responds.
Last month in Concord, New Hampshire, another self-identified ACLU voter asked if Biden would “commit to cutting the prison population overall, and specifically the federal prison population, in half” — a slightly different wording. Biden responded at length about criminal justice policy before telling the woman that he would not commit to reducing the prison population by any percentage target, BuzzFeed.
It’s interesting that per an ACLU article, “This week, Joe Biden also agreed, telling an ACLU volunteer that he would, in fact, commit to reducing incarceration in half and that he’s put together a plan that will go further than 50 percent.”
This quote came after his assertion that he would not commit to a percentage cut. Thus, after taking time to think it over, candidate Biden is still committed to a 50 percent (or more) cut in the prison population, ACLU.
But Wait, There More
As I started to write that progressives were horribly wrong and that all this would lead to exploding violence and fear and literally the destruction of struggling areas and people, I began to get more pushback.
When I used federal data to document the increase in violence, I got this comment, “Leonard, why don’t you just admit that you’re a racist,” per a commentator in the Reddit criminology forum. Cowardly moderators said nothing.
There are still publications and organizations denying the increase in violence and fear. They are like climate deniers.
“There’s a ton of evidence-based data presented by the federal government supporting progressive initiatives” per a LinkedIn Ph.D. critic. The writer had to be schooled that “evidence-based” doesn’t mean successful and that you had to rely on multiple studies (meta-analysis or literature reviews) for an indication as to what works.
For example, one of the most successful criminal rehabilitation modalities is cognitive-behavioral therapy which reduces recidivism by approximately 20 percent, which means that 80 percent fail, which seems cruel to me. But most rehabilitation programs don’t work per the National Institute of Justice (same link). Inmate and parole and probation recidivism is astoundingly high.
I went to a meeting with ACLU officials who stated that crime victims had no right to interfere with policy discussions.
Finally, the attacks on cops were way beyond proportional. If proactive policing is the only modality we have that has multiple supportive studies showing that it reduces crime, belittling all cops to the point where we have lost thousands seemed foolish. I started to wonder about the sanity of today’s progressives. The only effort that indicates reductions in crime are proactive police strategies via the US Department of Justice and the National Academies of Sciences.
I began to understand that “my” progressives had morphed into people inflicting great harm on minorities, the poor, the disenfranchised, and many others impacted by rapidly growing violence. Ideology, not data, guide their public statements.
Politico (all cited publications offer selected-rearranged quotes)
President Joe Biden is proclaiming that it’s time to “fund the police” and pouring more money into law enforcement in his budget plan. Democratic mayors in deep-blue cities are promising to hire hundreds more cops. Even in liberal bastions like Los Angeles, candidates are sprinting to claim the tough-on-crime mantle.
If 2020 was the year progressives reordered the traditional politics of crime and policing, 2022 looks like the year centrists are regaining their footing and nullifying those gains.
“As dumb as we are, we do listen to the base. The base has been giving it to us left and right: ‘What do you mean, cutting police?’” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who served two terms as Philadelphia mayor. “Go into North Philadelphia, where 99 percent of the people are African American, and ask them what they think of defunding the police. You wouldn’t find 10 people who are in favor.”
In an NBC News poll last month, fully 73 percent of voters said they’d be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports defunding the police, while Democrats’ House campaign arm, raising alarms about the “defund” label in its own research earlier this year, urged Democrats to reiterate their support for police.
From USA Today; Is California, one of the bluest states in the US, at a turning point over crime and homelessness? California residents have signaled they feel frustrated and unsafe and are in need of change after seeing both crime and homelessness appear to rise in the state.
In an interview with ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos, the mayor said former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton was ‘right’ when he said on the Bloomberg Businessweek podcast last week that progressive policies have led to an increase in crime in Democrat-run cities.
What have I learned after writing hundreds of articles? People don’t care about data; it’s all about what they believe and whether it supports or offends their politics. You could say that 2+2=4 but if it doesn’t adhere to their personal beliefs, you will be blasted.
Progressive Democrats may take a beating during the mid-term elections. It’s possible that they will lose the House and Senate. President Biden is backing off police and justice reforms like victims running from a mass shooting.
While I remain uncomfortable with hugely partisan politics, people need to understand the harm being done to struggling communities.
I’m a pragmatist, give me ten minutes and I’ll p___ off every extremist in the country. It shouldn’t be a matter of personal beliefs, we should be relying on data to guide us (the vast majority of which doesn’t support progressive views).
Everything should be on the table for discussion as long as proposals are evaluated by independent, nonpartisan researchers (if there are any left).
I’ve been blasted by conservatives for supporting social workers taking nonviolent mental health 911 calls or for being open to the possibility of violence interrupters. I’ve been bullied by progressives for everything and anything that doesn’t fit their agenda.
We have to come to grips with the complexity of crime and criminals. Simple slogans saying that we have to cut the prison population in half ignores the best available evidence from the US Department of Justice and the US Sentencing Commission that the great majority will commit more crimes and most will return to prison. Released inmates hurt a lot of people.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t support rehabilitation programs. I do based on humanitarian or religious grounds. But it’s simply unethical to firmly state that they reduce recidivism; that’s lying to the American public based on the best available data.
And denying the failure of rehabilitation programs hurts our effort to figure out why they don’t work. If this was a medical initiative, the AMA or the NIH would shut it down in a heartbeat. We are hurting the very people we are trying to assist.
Yes, there are thousands of former inmates who have done well, and several continue to be my friends. I interviewed many for radio and television shows. But when I suggested that the overwhelming number of them will be arrested and incarcerated once again, they state that recidivists have daemons they can’t control.
Violence Interrupters “may” be a worthy idea (three have been murdered in Baltimore-multiple others have been assaulted) but if street smart parole and probation agents can’t break the cycle of violence, what makes us believe that former offenders can?
There are endless ideas that seem personally intuitive that turn out wrong (i.e., boot camps for young offenders).
Everyone needs to be open to the ideas of others as long as they are backed by independent research. “Evidence-based” concepts are fine as long as we acknowledge that it doesn’t mean that initiatives work, or work well.
Pragmatism means being open to all data-backed solutions. This shouldn’t be about politics. Yet publish anything based on the best available research that disagrees with agendas and be prepared to be endlessly criticized.
But for the moment, progressive Democrats are now running as hard as they can from reforms. Based on the data, it was inevitable.
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