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Washington State Lawmakers Consider Expanding Police Search Power

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Police officers could search students’ lockers, backpacks and pockets without permission under a bill in the Washington legislature. The measure has already passed the Washington state Senate and was the subject of a hearing Thursday in the House.

Sen. Mike Carrell introduced the bill. He’s a former high school teacher. He says it would give trained officers greater ability to head off possible tragedies.

“We’re putting our schools, our children and our personnel at potential risk," Carrell says. "You know what has happened in schools.”

But, opponents of the measure say it would have police officers get involved in a situation before school administrators can intervene. Last year, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that school officers could not search students without a warrant, making this measure potentially vulnerable to legal challenge.

On the Web:

SB 5618: Warrantless school searches - Washington Legislature