And we have new laws to thank for this mess…
All of us have been on the road when some moron does something not only incredibly stupid but also super dangerous, only to wonder why cops don’t bust them. If you live in Washington state there’s a good explanation: police are almost powerless to stop criminals as they run away. Many suspects fleeing from law enforcement are behind the wheel of stolen cars, so running the tags won’t lead to a capture.
Starting in January of 2022, Washington State Patrol says over 900 drivers have just plain not pulled over when troopers tried to stop them. Thanks to new laws passed by the state’s legislature in the wake of cries for defunding the police and scaling back their powers, criminals are taking advantage and ignoring law enforcement. What’s better, the situation is almost guaranteed to get worse.
Outlined in a report from NW News Network, the Puyallup Police Department says 148 suspects fled from officers from July 26, 2021 to May 18, 2022. Chief Scott Engle responded to a question about if that was unusual very much in the affirmative.
Since many of the fleeing drivers are in stolen cars, this is making getting away with car theft even easier. In other words, the list of unintended consequences is growing as one problem feeds another. Who could have ever predicted such a thing?
“Something's changed. People are not stopping right now,” said Sgt. Darren Wright, a Washington State Patrol spokesperson. “It's happening three to five times a shift on some nights and then a couple times a week on day shift.”
In one incident outlined by a local news outlet, a state trooper couldn’t do anything as a BMW fled from an attempted traffic stop. Supposedly these new rules are to keep everyone safe, but the suspect was already engaging in dangerous maneuvers before the trooper tried pulling him over, then engaged in even more to ensure he wouldn’t be chased. It’s almost like the law is incentivizing criminals to break the law.
Even more infuriating, these criminals know exactly what they’re doing. Steve Strachan, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, cited a suspect driving on a suspended license who was being pursued by officers in Redmond. The guy called 911 and told the dispatcher they had to call off the chase because of House Bill 1054. He refused to stop, believing the law was on his side.
There has been an attempt to alter the law, but it fell apart in the state legislature last year. Opponents have cited racial equity, fatalities in pursuits, and police abuse as some of the reasons for keeping the restrictions on law enforcement.
Source: NW News Network
Photos via Washington State Patrol