Legislation

Contact Information
Renton Police Department
Interim Chief J. Schuldt
Renton, WA 98057

Message from Interim Police Chief Jon Schuldt

Photo of Chief of Police Jon SchuldtThe 2021 Session of the Washington State Legislature brought a heightened focus on policing in our state with the passage of several police reform bills.  Most of the legislation will not have a significant impact on our department, as many of the bills address practices and protocols that are already in-place at the Renton Police Department and have been for many years.

The Renton Police Department has always recognized the need to be progressive in our law enforcement services and we understand the importance that public trust brings in building that legitimacy. Even with the passage of these laws, our assignment has not changed: the safety of our public remains our top priority and providing you professional and unbiased law enforcement services continues to be our mission.

Some of the recent legislation will require us to re-evaluate our response to certain calls for service, and in doing so we are adhering to the direction that the Washington State Legislature has given us. Due to these new changes, I recommend our community members familiarize themselves with these new laws. If you have concerns or questions regarding this new legislation, I encourage you to reach out to your state senators and representatives in the 5th, 11th, 33rd, 37th, or 41st Legislative Districts.

My primary role is to provide leadership in protecting the safety of both the members of our community and the officers that are here to serve. Please remember that the members of the Renton Police Department chose this profession and willingly serve this community. They are here for you, your friends, neighbors, and loved ones. Whatever the challenges they may be facing, they will continue to provide professional service with integrity and valor.

 

HOUSE BILL 1054: Police Tactics

Effective Date July 25, 2021

HOUSE BILL 1054

Prohibits the Use of a Chokehold or Neck Restraints.

Definitions:

  • "Chokehold" means the intentional application of direct pressure to a person's trachea or windpipe for the purpose of restricting another person's airway.

  • "Neck Restraint" refers to any vascular neck restraint or similar restraint, hold, or other tactic in which pressure is applied to the neck for the purpose of constricting blood flow.

Renton Police Department considers the use of a respiratory restraint, also known as a chokehold, limited to circumstances where deadly force is authorized. HB 1054 prohibits this tactic.

Prohibits No-Knock Warrants

Renton Police Department does not execute this type of warrant service.

States the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) will develop a statewide model for policy for the training and use of K9 Teams.

Prohibits the use of tear gas except in three circumstances: harm posed by a riot, barricaded subject, or hostage situation.  States that prior to deploying tear gas, law enforcement officers must exhaust available and appropriate alternatives; obtain authorization from a supervising officer; announce the intent to use tear gas and allow sufficient time and space for the subject(s) to comply.

Renton Police Department does not utilize tear gas during routine patrol duties, so this will have no impact on our current practices. The Regional Valley SWAT Team and Valley Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU), of which Renton contributes personnel, currently have protocols in-place that require supervisor approval prior to using less-lethal options during their operations.  This Bill will require that the Mayor of the involved City give approval for the use of tear gas prior to it being dispatched during a riot. 

Prohibits the use or acquisition of military equipment; agencies must return or destroy any military equipment by December 31, 2022.

Renton Police Department does not purchase or maintain military equipment.

Requires uniformed officers be identifiable (for example: a name badge).

This practice is already in-place at Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

Prohibits vehicle pursuits unless the officer has probable cause that a crime (violent or sex offense) has been/is being committed; there is a reasonable suspicion of DUI and other stipulations.

A peace officer may not engage in a vehicular pursuit, unless:

  • There is probable cause to believe that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense or sex offense as defined in RCW 9.94A.030, or an escape under Chapter 9A.76 RCW; or

  • There is reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a driving under the influence offense under RCW 46.61.502;

  • The pursuit is necessary for the purpose of identifying or apprehending the person;

  • The person poses an imminent 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 vehicle pursuit under the circumstances.

Renton Police Department's pursuit policy has always required supervisor approval; some adjustments in our policy will be made to make sure we are in compliance as it relates to this new legislation.  This Bill will impact officers' ability to stop and/or detain subjects that have committed certain crimes.  This Bill requires the standard of probable cause for a violent crime or sex crime, defined under RCW 9.94A.030, be established before a vehicle pursuit can be initiated.  Officers will be authorized to stop a vehicle for suspicion of DUI, or if the officer believes the subject driving poses an imminent threat to the community.  (Imminent threat is defined as the person having the opportunity, the means, and the intent to commit a crime.)  In certain circumstances, officers will be required by law to permit a subject to flee in a vehicle from a crime scene if probable cause is not immediately established.

Prohibits a law enforcement officer from firing a weapon at a moving vehicle.

This practice is already in-place at Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.  An exception to this would be if the officer has a moving vehicle headed directly towards them and they have no way to escape being hit, then that officer has the authority to shoot at the vehicle.

HOUSE BILL 1310: Use of Force

Effective Date July 25, 2021

HOUSE BILL 1310

A peace officer may use physical force against a person when necessary to:

  • Make an arrest;
  • Effect an arrest;
  • Prevent an escape as defined under Chapter 9A.76 RCW; or
  • Protect against an imminent threat or bodily injury to the peace officer, another person, or the person against whom force is being used.

Definition:  "Imminent threat of serious physical injury or death" means that, based on the totality of the circumstances, it is objectively reasonable to believe that a person has the present and apparent ability, opportunity, and intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or another person.

Use of Force is defined as any action taken by an officer to physically restrain a person.  

The Renton Police Department posts their annual Use of Force Reports online.  The Renton Police Department responds to approximately 71,000 calls-for-service a year, with .1% of those contacts involving some method of physical force.

Authorizes a law enforcement officer to use deadly force only when necessary, to protect against an imminent threat or serious physical injury or death.

This part of the Bill will affect how police respond to some high-priority calls.  This requires officers to have probable cause (i.e., proof of a crime), in order to stop and detain a subject.  Officers will no longer be allowed to apply reasonable suspicion of a crime as a basis to stop and/or detain a person.  (Officers remain authorized to use force if there is imminent threat to bodily injury or death.)

Requires that an officer exhaust available and appropriate de-escalation tactics prior to using any physical force.

This practice is already in-place at the Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

When using physical force, an officer is required to use the least amount of physical force necessary.

This practice is already in-place at the Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

Requires police to terminate the use of physical force as soon as the necessity for it ends.

This practice is already in-place at the Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

By July 1, 2022, the State Attorney General must develop a model police on law enforcement's use of force and de-escalation tactics statewide.

Requires basic training provided by the Criminal Justice Training Commission be consistent with the use-of-force requirements and limitations and the Attorney General's model policy on use of force and de-escalation.

HOUSE BILL 1267: Office of Independent Investigations

Effective Date July 25, 2021

HOUSE BILL 1267

Creates the Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor and designates that office as the lead investigative body for any investigation it chooses to conduct under its jurisdiction.

Requires all law enforcement agencies to immediately notify the Office of Independent Investigations of any incident.

Requires the Office of Independent Investigations Advisory Board to determine whether that office should be expanded to conduct investigations of other types of incidents committed by involved officers, such as in-custody deaths and sexual assaults by law enforcement officers.

 

HOUSE BILL 1088 - Potential Impeachment Disclosures / Brady List

Effective Date July 25, 2021

HOUSE BILL 1088

Requires each county prosecutor to develop and adopt a written protocol no later than July 1, 2022 regarding:

  • The types of conduct that must be disclosed.

  • How Brady/potential impeachment disclosure information should be shared and maintained, and what circumstances an officer may be removed from the Brady/potential impeachment disclosure.

It also requires:

  • Local Brady/potential impeachment disclosure protocols to be reviewed every two years.

  • The CJTC to provide online Brady/potential impeachment disclosure training.

  • Law enforcement agencies to report Brady/potential impeachment disclosures within 10 days.

  • Law enforcement agencies, prior to hiring an officer with previous law enforcement experience, to inquire and verify whether the officer has ever been subject to a Brady/potential impeachment disclosure.

HOUSE BILL 1089 - Audits of Investigations

Effective Date July 25, 2021

HOUSE BILL 1089

State Auditor with the CJTC to conduct an audit of any deadly force investigation.

HOUSE BILL 1140 - Juvenile Access to Attorneys

Effective January 1, 2022

HOUSE BILL 1140

Requires juvenile (under the age of 18) access to an attorney for consultation prior to a juvenile waiving any constitutional rights if the officer:

  • Questions a juvenile during a custodial interrogation.

  • Detains a juvenile based on probable cause of involvement in criminal activity.

  • Requests that a juvenile consent to an evidentiary search of their person, property, dwelling or vehicle.

HOUSE BILL 1223 - Uniform Electronic Recording of Custodial Interrogations

Effective January 2, 2020

HOUSE BILL 1223

Requires that any custodial interrogation of an adult for a felony offense, or a juvenile of any offense, be electronically recorded.

The Renton Police Department has used electronic audio recording for many years; this satisfies the dictates in this Bill.  However, plans are in-place to fund a police body cam program in the very near future .   

HOUSE BILL 1320 - Protection Orders

Effective July 25, 2021 and July 1, 2022

HOUSE BILL 1320

Consolidates and amends laws governing protection orders for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, anti-harassment, vulnerable adults and extreme risk.

 

SENATE BILL 5051: Decertification of Officers

Effective Date July 25, 2021

SENATE BILL 5051 

In Washington State, we have a peace officer certification standard, and that standard is administrated through the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC); otherwise known as the 'Police Training Academy.'  CJTC is the 'hub' for standardized training practices in Washington State for police officers.

Establishes criteria for mandatory statewide standards to de-certify police and corrections officers.

CJTC will be responsible for setting the standard on what an officer can be de-certified for in the event they are proven to have acted in a manner that violates the code of conduct established by CJTC.  Should an officer be de-certified, this Bill will prevent them from being able to qualify to work at another law enforcement agency in the State.

The CJTC may conduct independent investigations into allegations of improper conduct.

The CJTC will have authority to conduct their own independent investigation into allegations of improper police conduct.  This could result in punitive action towards the accused officer, in addition to, and separate from, what their own department issued during their internal investigation into the allegation.

The CJTC may issue public recommendations regarding law enforcement agencies' command decisions, inadequacy of police training, investigations or disciplinary decisions regarding misconduct, potential systemic violations of law or policy, unconstitutional policing, or other matters.

Expands requirements on pre-hire background checks.

Renton Police Department has always maintained a high standard when it comes to the background investigations of both lateral and entry level officers.

Requires law enforcement and corrections agencies to report to the CJTC within 10 days of death or serious injury caused by the use of force by an officer or any time an officer has been charged with a crime.

Specifies that the CJTC shall have the sole authority to provide basic law enforcement training.

This does not affect Renton Police Department as all our entry level officers only attend CJTC for their basic law enforcement training.

SENATE BILL 5066: Duty to Intervene

Effective Date July 25, 2021

SENATE BILL 5066

Requires any identifiable  law enforcement officer who witnesses another officer using or attempting to use excessive force to intervene to end and/or prevent the use of excessive force and report to their supervisor.

This practice is already in-place at Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

Incorporates the duty to render first aid into the newly created duty to intervene.

This practice is already in-place at Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

Prohibits law enforcement agencies from imposing discipline or retaliate in any way against an officer for intervening in good faith or reporting in good faith as required by the Bill.

This practice is already in-place at Renton Police Department; no changes to current policy.

Requires law enforcement agencies to send notice to the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) for any disciplinary action from a law enforcement officer's failure to intervene or failure to report.

The new Bill requires law enforcement agencies to notify CJTC within 10 days of an officer being disciplined for failure to intervene or failure to report.  Some modifications will be made to our current policy to accommodate this language.

Requires the CJTC to develop a written model policy on the duty to intervene by December 1, 2021.

Requires the CJTC to provide duty to intervene training by December 31, 2023 to all officers who completed basic law enforcement training prior to January 31, 2022.

SENATE BILL 5476: Drug Possession (State vs. Blake)

Effective Date July 1, 2021

SENATE BILL 5476

This law was created in response to a Washington Supreme Court Decision:  State vs. Blake.  In this case, it was determined by the State Supreme Court that the state drug crimes law was unconstitutional, specifically around the issue of knowingly being in possession of drugs.  This law established certain criteria for charging subjects knowingly in possession of drugs for personal use.

The Bill modified the existing Violation of the Uniform Substance Control Act (VUCSA) statute; it changes possession of narcotics from a felony to a misdemeanor crime, requires proof of knowledge of 'knowingly' in possession.

Police are required to offer a referral to treatment upon contact of a person knowingly in possession of a narcotic(s).  This must happen on two occasions before the person can be cited or booked into jail.

Police working on an internal document to track and provide treatment referrals to those contacted in possession of narcotics to meet the legal requirement.  No State referral program is set up at this time.

Renton Police Department has created a Referral to Assessment and Services document to accommodate this new Bill.

Drug paraphernalia used to ingest narcotics was de-criminalized, including, but not limited to, syringes, smoking pipes, etc.

The distribution, sale, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing of narcotics stays a felony in most cases.

SENATE BILL 5259: Law Enforcement Data Collection

Effective July 25, 2021

SENATE BILL 5259

Requires the State Attorney General to contract with a college or university to establish and administer a Washington law enforcement use-of-force reporting system. 

SENATE BILL 5055: Grievance Arbitration Panels

Effective July 25, 2021

SENATE BILL 5055

Establishes a rotating pool of law enforcement grievance arbitrators at the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does it seem like no one using drugs is being arrested?

  • SB5476 modified the existing Violation of the Uniform Substance Control Act (VUCSA) statute, changes possession of narcotics from a felony to a misdemeanor crime; requires proof of knowledge or 'knowingly' in possession.

  • Police are required to offer a referral to treatment upon contact of a person knowingly in possession of a narcotic(s).  This must happen on two occasions before the person can be cited or booked into jail.

  • Police are working on an internal document to track and provide treatment referrals to those contacted in possession of narcotics to meet the legal requirement.  No State referral program is set up at this time.

  • Drug paraphernalia used to ingest narcotics was de-criminalized, including, but not limited to: syringes, smoking pipes, etc.

  • The distribution, sale, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing of narcotics remains a felony crime in most cases.

Can police pursue vehicles?

HB1054 passes law that authorizes vehicular pursuits by law enforcement only under certain situations:

  • Officers must have probable cause to believe that a person in the vehicle committed or is committing a violent offense or sex offense, defined in RCW 9.94A.030, or an escape under RCW 9A.76; or

  • Reasonable suspicion a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a driving under the influence offense under RCW 46.61.502;

  • The officer believes the pursuit is necessary for the purpose of identifying or apprehending the person.

  • The person poses an imminent or immediate threat to the safety of others.

  • Officer must receive approval from a supervising officer.

Can the Renton Police conduct No Knock Warrants?

  • HB 1054 prohibits the use of No Knock Warrants.

Can the Renton Police use chokeholds or neck restraints?

Renton PD policy on the use of respiratory restraints or chokeholds was limited to circumstances where deadly force was authorized.  This policy will be updated to meet the new State Law.

  • HB1054 prohibits the use of chokeholds or neck restraints.

Definitions in House Bill 1054:

  • Chokehold means the intentional application of direct pressure to a person's trachea or windpipe for the purpose of restricting another person's airway.

  • Neck Restraint refers to any vascular neck restraint or similar restraint, hold, or other tactic in which pressure is applied to the neck for the purpose of constricting blood flow.

Do Renton Police practice de-escalation techniques?

  • Yes, Renton PD receives and practices training in de-escalation techniques.  An additional program that we are implementing is the ABLE training program beginning this year.  ABLE is a training program developed by the Georgetown University Law School and stands for Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement.

When can Renton Police use force?

HB1310 passed a new law regarding the use of force and use of de-escalation.

A peace officer may use physical force against another person when necessary to:

  • Protect against criminal conduct where there is probable cause to make an arrest, effect an arrest, prevent an escape, or protect against an imminent threat of bodily injury to the officer, another person, or the person against who force is being used.

  • An officer may use deadly force against another person only when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to the officer or another person.

  • An officer must:

  • When possible, exhaust available and appropriate de-escalation tactics prior to using force.

  • Use the least amount of force necessary to overcome resistance.

  • Terminate use of force as soon as necessity for such force ends.

  • When possible, use available and appropriate less lethal alternatives before using deadly force.

  • Make less lethal alternatives issued to the officer reasonably available for use.

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