State Legislature passes initiative allowing more police chases; West Seattle legislators all vote no

If a statewide initiative gets enough signatures to go to voters, the State Legislature first gets the chance to approve it, which would mean it will become law without going onto the ballot. That’s what just happened with Initiative 2113, which will lift restrictions that legislators placed on police pursuits three years ago (and loosened a bit last year). Unlike legislation, initiatives don’t require the governor’s signature – if both the State House and State Senate pass them, they will become law. Both votes happened today – the House voted in favor of it, 77-20, and the Senate vote was 36-13. According to the roll-call tallies on the Legislature’s website, all three West Seattleites representing the 34th District in the Legislature voted no – Senator Nguyễn and Representatives Emily Alvarado and Joe Fitzgibbon.

Under current state law, pursuits are allowed in six types of circumstances; under 2113, the authority becomes simply “There is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law.” There are some caveats, such as that “The person poses a threat to the safety of others and the safety risks of failing to apprehend or identify the person are considered to be greater than the safety risks of the vehicular pursuit under the circumstances.” Officers also need to notify a supervisor, who will then oversee the pursuit, and they need to have gone through a particular type of training. You can read the initiative’s full text here. Initiatives passed by legislators become law 90 days after the end of their session, which in this case is Thursday. Departments can have more restrictive policies than state law allows, as has been the case with SPD (here’s their current policy).

66 Replies to "State Legislature passes initiative allowing more police chases; West Seattle legislators all vote no"

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy March 4, 2024 (10:06 pm)

    Anyone interested in giving me a Washington state  civics lesson?  Does the initiative have specific language that amends the legal code precisely? And if the house and Senate take it up and pass it, are they deciding to pass the initiative legal code changes word for word? Or do they draft a bill that complies with the initiative in legal language?  My guess is the former as the latter would be very very messy.

    • WSB March 4, 2024 (10:31 pm)

      The specific language is linked in the story (second paragraph, “read the text here”). And that’s what becomes law. Simple as that.

  • Rhonda March 4, 2024 (10:32 pm)

    36 voted yes in the Senate and 77 in the House in a bipartisan stampede of common sense. Thank God we don’t have to wait for voters to pass this 8 months from now. This will save lives. 

    • heartless March 5, 2024 (9:15 am)

      No, it won’t save lives, and shame on you for not looking at the evidence and studies regarding this exact thing.  Please inform yourself as to whether police pursuits save or cost lives.  The answers are out there, and whether or not you choose to believe facts they are still facts…

      • ltfd March 5, 2024 (12:31 pm)


        • heartless March 5, 2024 (1:31 pm)

          That made me laugh, thanks.

  • Wseattleite March 4, 2024 (10:40 pm)

    Of course our representatives voted no.  Sheesh. Haven’t had enough already?

  • Chuck D. March 4, 2024 (10:43 pm)

    It’s very disappointing to learn that our local representatives are all in favor of letting lawbreakers evade law enforcement simply by driving slowly away. This attitude goes a long way towards explaining the brazen behaviors we have seen from criminals lately. They literally have no fear of reprisal. We deserve better from our local politicians. 

    • Seattlite March 5, 2024 (7:07 am)

      Those three representatives made their stance on law enforcement clear during their campaigns before Seattle voters voted them into office.   Without solid law enforcement and full police officer staffing (which Seattle does not have), Communities become chaotic which we is what we are seeing  and living in today.

    • tedb310 March 5, 2024 (9:30 am)

      Mr. D, you hit the opponents, such as our legislators, feelings right on the head.  Better to have a suspect drive away slowly than at 100 miles per hour endangering all who have the misfortune of being in their path.

  • Alki resident March 4, 2024 (10:58 pm)

    A father is dead and his innocent baby has skull fractures, just last week in Burien. Police spotted a stolen truck sitting by SeaTac Park and while police were trying to get other officers to the area, the suspect saw police,got spooked and took off in the stolen truck. Just driving a few blocks, he nailed that poor family killing the dad. Had police been able to pursue the suspect right away, that family wouldn’t have this devastating loss. We can’t allow these criminals to continue to destroy lives and get away with the things they’re doing. Police need to be able to do their jobs. 

    • Rhonda March 4, 2024 (11:42 pm)

      That’s one of many reasons why this passed the legislature by such huge majorities. Shame on the 33 lawmakers who voted against Initiative 2113 today.

      • Jeff March 5, 2024 (9:03 am)

        Some of us align with the vote our reps made, Rhonda. Some of us agree with them. So, no, not shame on them. 

        • ltfd March 5, 2024 (12:33 pm)


    • K March 5, 2024 (5:43 am)

      This is actually a really good example of why police chases do more harm than good.  Suspects fleeing at high speed killed an innocent man over what?  A truck?  A piece of completely replaceable property?  A life is worth a truck?  Have you already forgotten the young man that was killed on Highland Park Way by a fleeing suspect in a pursuit?  Again, prioritizing property over life, an innocent man died while cops tried to recover… a stolen vehicle.  It’s really a sad statement about American culture that so many people are so gung-ho to risk human lives for the recovery of property.  Life should be worth more than that.  

      • Alki resident March 5, 2024 (12:50 pm)

        The Burien man who was the suspect has 21 priors. So no not just over a truck. He was a convicted felon in possession of a stolen vehicle. He is now caught and rightfully charged. 

        • K March 5, 2024 (8:17 pm)

          That man was alive after the 21 priors.  It was that one truck the police were after that cost an innocent man his life.  Even if it were twenty-one trucks, that is still not worth a human life.  Preserving human life should always be a higher priority for police than returning property.  High speed chases are not worth it.

    • Reed March 5, 2024 (6:26 am)

      “Police spotted a stolen truck sitting by SeaTac Park and while police were trying to get other officers to the area, the suspect saw police, got spooked and took off in the stolen truck.”

      So the suspect evaded police at a high rate of speed, resulting in a crash that killed an adult and severely injured a kid. Seems like the circumstances would have been exactly the same if the police were to pursue him. How often do we hear about pursuits that do get approved in our area resulting in some sort of collision? Speaking from memory, I recall it being more often than not, so I don’t think a police pursuit of the is suspect would have prevented what happened.

    • Grilled Cheese March 5, 2024 (6:53 am)

      Did they catch the thieves that caused this accident?

      • westseattlebob March 5, 2024 (12:13 pm)

        They did indeed!! I believe they caught the 30 something man somewhere in the south end.

      • Alki resident March 5, 2024 (12:52 pm)

        The suspect was caught all the way by Tumwater the next day. In yet another stolen vehicle. 

      • skeeter March 5, 2024 (1:10 pm)

        This was NOT an “accident.”  An accident is when you spill your milk or stub your toe.  This was a choice to engage in deadly behavior with a predictable outcome.  

  • Curious Constituent March 5, 2024 (5:07 am)

    It would be helpful if Senator NguyễnEmily Alvarado and/or Joe Fitzgibbon would release a statement of transparency to the Blog and other media outlets this week explaining their vote to their constituents. Knowing that public safety was a (THE) priority concern in this area’s recent local election, I don’t think this is a far fetched request of them. 

    • Plf March 5, 2024 (11:53 am)

      That would require transparency and vivid accountability for their votes, they don’t respond to emails either.  Tired of crime, give police the tools to do their jobs and hold them accountable to make appropriate decisions based on individual situations I have compassion fatigue and want these crooks and thugs thrown into jail and held accountable for their choices, I’m a child of the 60s and life long progressive democrat that has figured out our policies aren’t working would be interesting to see data down the road on repeat offenders if we hold these folks accountable 

    • Odd son March 5, 2024 (5:05 pm)

      I messaged Joe Fitzgibbon through the state website in December. Followed up with a legislative aide a few weeks ago. No response. 

  • 22blades March 5, 2024 (5:20 am)

    I’m wondering how SPD & WSP pursuit training stacks up against other jurisdictions across the country. I wish there was language that required additional training of best practices & qualification like guns. We don’t need another South Lake Union incident.

  • D-Mom March 5, 2024 (5:26 am)

    I’d like to know the reasoning behind the WS leg no votes. My guess is because of longtime racial discrimination and also public safety.  But crime is getting so much worse in WS with those knowing the police can’t chase. About time we change that. 

  • Scarlett March 5, 2024 (7:09 am)

    Alvarado, Nyugen and Fitzgibbon voted correctly on this.  I do not want  cops endangering others with unsafe car chases, particularly when adrenaline might be overwhelm their ability to make good decisions. These tragedies are all too common, though this is particularly horrifying.

    • Thomas March 5, 2024 (9:52 am)

      So its ok with you that criminals endanger people?

      • Scarlett March 5, 2024 (10:39 am)

        Annoy someone else with your silly straw man arguments.  

      • Scarlett March 5, 2024 (7:37 pm)

        Someone has been victimized, I see no reason to put another innocent life in danger with a pursuit. Police probably a have a lic plate, description of the car and maybe the occupants, let them pick a less chaotic and unpredictable time.    

        • Rhonda March 5, 2024 (9:39 pm)

          Scarlett, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was pulled over for a simple expired tab and arrested for being spotted carrying a concealed pistol without a license. Had it been in Washington State he would’ve been able to drive away after murdering 168 innocent people.

          • K March 5, 2024 (10:20 pm)

            For this argument to make sense, you’d have to assume that all police investigators sit on their hands 24/7 (which, to be fair, many of them do) and only the patrol officer is going to take action against someone for an infraction.  In the real world, plenty of criminals are caught after their crime, after investigations, and using means that don’t endanger innocent members of the public.  I know police really like to vroom-vroom with their cars, but their job (like it or not) is to protect and serve the community.  Engaging criminals in a way that puts innocent people at risk when they have the option to apprehend by other means is the opposite of protecting and serving.  

          • Scarlett March 5, 2024 (11:15 pm)

            I’m not following you,  Rhonda.  The arrest of McVeigh was in the course of a routine traffic stop.  

    • Alki resident March 5, 2024 (12:57 pm)

      Until it happens to your family right? Criminals will get away with evidence in the vehicle they’re driving away with, possibly losing the chance of a full investigation and charges including stolen goods, drugs and alcohol, other criminals in the car that have warrants, weapons that aren’t registered to them, a kidnapped victim, etc. The seriousness of allowing police to chase ,way outweighs anything else at this point. 

      • heartless March 5, 2024 (6:38 pm)

        You think police pursuits for low level crimes are important because the suspects might happen to have a kidnapping victim in the backseat?     

        • Alki resident March 5, 2024 (7:44 pm)

          Why did you pick apart my comment to make your own? My point is you have no idea what additional things you’re going to find when you’re chasing a suspect. I just named quite a few scenario’s, all that have happened in our country over the years. It’s not unusual to find more than one of these things during a search. 

          • heartless March 5, 2024 (9:35 pm)

            Pick apart your comment?!  You wrote that a reason to support police chases for low level crimes is because the suspects might have a kidnapping victim in the car.  I was asking if you’re serious.  And… you really seem to be!  So I’m just going to back away from you, very, very slowly.

  • WSCurmudgeon March 5, 2024 (7:26 am)

    Whenever police pursuits are studied statistically, it becomes clear that far more innocent bystanders are hurt or killed  by the pursuits than perpetrators are caught.  The link is to a San Francisco Chronicle article published in late February. If you search the ‘Net, you’ll find that there are dozens of articles, academic and by news organizations, that have come to the same conclusion.

    • Felix Grounds March 5, 2024 (8:46 am)

      Hahaha, thanks for the link, but I’m sure the West Seattle Blog’s usual cast of commenters won’t let these statistical facts dampen their lust for “justice”.

      • CarDriver March 5, 2024 (1:50 pm)

        Justice is for the victims. Sorry, can’t join you for a pity party for the crooks.

    • Tk March 5, 2024 (5:42 pm)

      Yes let’s look at San Fran as an example smh 

      • heartless March 5, 2024 (9:40 pm)

        The article wasn’t about San Francisco. 

        Why are people so adamantly refusing to read research?  You read the WSB, so you at least have some respect for journalism.  Why completely ignore a linked article about this issue you are seemingly invested in?  I don’t understand…

    • common sense March 9, 2024 (8:22 pm)

      The “study” says nothing about the deterrent effect of police chases or the increase in crime that predictably follows when police do not chase anybody. It merely says that more police chases result in more accidents and injuries which shouldn’t take a “study” to predict.

      • heartless March 9, 2024 (9:58 pm)

        What deterrent effect of police chases?  You just making things up, or do you have evidence? (Got a feeling you’re just making things up, and there’s some pretty good evidence saying you are wrong!)

  • thomas reed March 5, 2024 (7:34 am)

    I am not trolling here, we should actually be training police officers on how to pursuit and maybe get them sports cars. We were just in Arizona and the cops have mustang 5.0’s for they’re highway patrol works very affectively.

    • heartless March 5, 2024 (9:12 am)

      You actually think suspects are getting away because police cars don’t go fast enough?!   

  • Dog Whisperer March 5, 2024 (7:34 am)

    It’s a step in the right direction. Not sure how we got so far off track. 

    • Seattlite March 5, 2024 (8:22 am)

      Policies got us “off track.”

  • Conan March 5, 2024 (8:17 am)

    Good start.  They also need to revisit the other silly law preventing LEOs from questioning juveniles without an attorney present.  If not for this law, the Adam family would have the answers they deserve (for example).

    • Wes March 5, 2024 (9:20 am)

      100 Percent!

    • Derek March 5, 2024 (11:23 am)

      Absurd take. Attorneys ALWAYS need to be present. Let’s stop giving cops extra power, thanks.

      • Conan March 6, 2024 (8:55 am)

        Don’t confuse the Washington law passed in 2021 with the Miranda rights.  

  • Wes March 5, 2024 (9:19 am)

    This is unfortunate, but also shows that we need some new leadership in the city.  As someone that listens to the police scanner every night, I can tell you that this is a big component that needed to be fixed to solve the crime epidemic. I’m glad it passed.  The crooks need to be chased and captured.

    • April March 5, 2024 (11:31 am)

      Wes….I agree with you. I’m so happy this passed. Now they need to go chase down those criminals!

    • Alf March 5, 2024 (11:56 am)


  • WScommenter March 5, 2024 (9:22 am)

    For anyone who thinks there is a clear correct vote here, I encourage you to read this Pierce County published presentation with statistics. of pursuits result in accidents, 20% in injuries, and 1 out of every 100 in a fatality.  It’s reasonable to look at these statistics and reach a conclusion that pursuits which injure and kill innocent bystanders is a public safety issue and shouldn’t be allowed for property theft/damage crimes.  Those are high percentages.It is also completely reasonable to say that we don’t have similar statistics for the number of people injured when people crash a truck into a storefront emboldened by no pursuit laws or injuries that may have been prevented by allowing pursuit which results statistically in more arrests which theoretically should reduce incidents of crime altogether.  There’s also fear of employees working at retail locations frequently being broken into.This is a complicated issue and I’m happy to see a process taking place where it’s been given a lot of consideration and effort has been made to find the best legal solution to a difficult problem.

    • Tony March 5, 2024 (1:45 pm)

      You’re correct. Yes, pursuits can and do have the possibility of ending in an auto accident. It’s typically the fleeing vehicle that will end in a wreck. Also, I don’t know if that link that you referenced takes into account law enforcement PIT maneuvers. Do they consider this maneuver as an “accident.” 

  • Pete March 5, 2024 (9:53 am)

    I’m always a little shocked at how little people care about evidence. The case against police chases is pretty clear. 

    • heartless March 5, 2024 (1:30 pm)

      But their feelings and opinions are so much more important than silly things like facts and evidence!  Think about their feelings, Pete!  

    • Are you kidding me? March 5, 2024 (3:13 pm)

      Pete, there’s literally a trail of dead bodies and traumatized victims from Washington’s failed no-pursuit experiment. New Jersey banned police pursuits in 2021, too, and reversed it in 2022 after crimes exploded. 

      • Scarlett March 6, 2024 (9:40 am)

        NJ  banned police pursuits because of fatalities associated with those pursuits.    

  • April March 5, 2024 (11:06 am)

    Finally! Yes!!! Go get them criminals!

  • ltfd March 5, 2024 (12:38 pm)

    Chase fleeing criminals. Capture & arrest fleeing criminals. Try, convict and incarcerate these criminals. Repeat.

  • Admiral-2009 March 5, 2024 (6:02 pm)

    It’s clear that the no pursuit policy was leading to increase in brazen theft and alluding police.  Allowing police to pursue criminals should provide a deterrent effect that you can no longer simply drive away.  Our legislators made the wrong vote on this issue.

  • MacJ March 8, 2024 (8:35 am)

    Remembering Jaahnavi Kandula’s death last year, I don’t see any reason to enable police to put more people at risk. High speed police pursuit is Hollywood nonsense, not public safety.

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