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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."

Police Deadly Force Bill Falters, Sponsor Not Giving Up

Tony Webster
Wikimedia -

Efforts to change Washington’s police deadly force law have been dealt a setback in the state legislature. Friday a compromise measure failed to make it out of committee before a key deadline. But the sponsor remains hopeful.

Currently Washington state law protects police officers who use deadly force in good faith and without malice. Prosecutors say that standard makes it virtually impossible to charge a police officer with improper use of deadly force.

The proposal would have removed malice and redefined good faith. In a statement the sponsor, Democrat David Frockt of Seattle, said he’s disappointed. But he also acknowledged that this is a difficult issue that ignites passions on both sides.

Frockt said that while his bill failed to make it out of the Republican-controlled Senate budget committee, there’s still time to revive the issue before the end of the legislative session in April.

Democrats in the Washington House are also working on the issue of police deadly force. The chair of the House Public Safety committee has said that he’s confident of a compromise deal this year.

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."