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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Lawmaker Predicts Police Deadly Force Law Will Change This Year

Tony Webster
Wikimedia -

Washington prosecutors say state law makes it nearly impossible to criminally charge a police officer who uses deadly force. Now a key state lawmaker predicts that law will change this year.

Currently, Washington law protects police officers who act in good faith and without malice. A proposal to remove malice and redefine “good faith” has passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

House Public Safety Committee Chair Roger Goodman supports that change. But the Democrat said no change will happen without the backing of both frontline police officers and communities disproportionately affected by policing.

“This is not going to be jammed down the throats of either side,” Goodman said. “This is really going to be a continuing consensus building process and we are getting closer and I’m confident that we’re going to get this done this year.

Goodman also said any final deal will have to include new money to train officers and help police departments better connect with citizens.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."