Signatures being collected for initiative to reduce police pursuit restrictions

A group called "Let's Go Washington" is collecting signatures for petitions featuring 11 initiatives ahead of the upcoming legislative session.

Sharon Hanek, a state coordinator with the group says I-1474, which eases restrictions on police pursuits, is a top priority.

Hanek says she is confident this petition will get the 400,000 signatures needed by the end of the year.

"You really don't know until the final days, and [signatures] are just pouring in right now," said Hanek.

I-1474 is in response to police reform laws which kicked in last year.

Washington Representative Roger Goodman believes there's been some success since the vehicle pursuit law was enacted in 2021.

"In the last 15 months, there's been an 80% reduction of deaths on the roadways because of vehicle pursuits; very often, innocent bystanders have been killed," said Goodman.

He says police pursuits will be brought up in the upcoming legislative session.

"It's going to be a difficult conversation, but there's a balance here. It's going to require getting everyone around the table; not just police, but community groups and others who are concerned about police pursuits," said Goodman.

Police reform groups like the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability believe limits on vehicular pursuits protect officers and civilians.

Let's Go Washington has set a Dec. 19 deadline, but says it is open to accept signed petitions a little after that date.

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If they collect the needed signatures, lawmakers could either turn I-1474 into law or place the initiative on the ballot at the next general election, with or without changes.