Fighting for Statewide Reforms

Strengthen requirements for officers to intervene

George Floyd died, in part, because officers who were witnessing police misconduct did not intervene and save his life. The CPC is deeply committed to ensuring that officers act in the best interest of community members during all interactions. This includes encouraging officers to intervene when their colleagues are committing misconduct. 

Washington should create a statewide baseline policy that requires all law enforcement agencies in the state to have strong policies requiring all officers on-scene to intervene when they witness misconduct or mistakes being made. State law should also allow individual agencies to go above and beyond state requirements. The victims of police misconduct should also be able to bring civil lawsuits against bystander officers who do not intervene.

However, we acknowledge that simply adopting policies and highlighting federal law will not be enough. This will require a change in culture. To aid in that, the state has opted to join the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Project (Project ABLE). The program, which comes from the Georgetown Law Innovative Police Program, builds off academic research and on-the-ground experience to become an effective, yet active bystander.

To be Project ABLE certified, law enforcement agencies and state academies must meet ten standards, including gaining community support for the training; ensuring strong written anti-retaliation policies are in place so interveners are not punished; and mandating agencies have a meaningful officer wellness program. WSCJTC has recently begun the "train the trainer" process which will prepare SPD to train new recruits to be active bystanders. What is unknown is the status of the training for current officers and how this training effort will impact local departments.

Other statewide reforms we need: