Seattle cop: Initiative 940 will create political prosecutions of police officers

Oct 15, 2018, 7:08 AM | Updated: 9:47 am

Opponents to the I-940 initiative believe it’s bad for the safety of the public and cops who have to put themselves in deadly situations. Currently, an officer cannot be convicted of a crime for using deadly force if it was done in good faith, and without “evil intent.”

RELATED: Washington use-of-force bill advances despite constitutional concerns

But if I-940 passes, it then becomes much easier to prosecute cops for use of deadly force, allowing juries to decide whether the cop acted in good faith and what the reasonable response would be.

They purport that 940’s about training, which is nonsense. It’s true intent is to make political prosecution of police officers,” said Seattle Officer Mike Solan, president of the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs and the campaign manager for the Coalition for a Safer Washington.

Known as the law enforcement training and community safety act, the initiative would require training in de-escalation tactics and mental health, as well as create the aforementioned independent investigation into the use of deadly force.

“We want to educate voters on how detrimental 940 is to the safety of the community if officers hesitate, because they have to make split-second decisions and they’re worried about the magnitude of this vague, ill-advised language that’s being pushed on the votership of this state.”

As opponents note, I-940 has the potential not simply to endanger the community, but the lives and careers of the officers themselves.

“When I speak with officers across the state, the number one thing that’s said to me is that cops aren’t as concerned any more about being killed in the line of duty,” Solan said. “They’re more concerned with being politically prosecuted in the line of duty.”

I-940 oversight

For Solan, I-940 is just one more example of the suffocation police are feeling in today’s climate, and creating a disincentive for officers to properly do their job, let alone stay on the force.

“Cops are human beings. We want to protect the public and save lives. I don’t know one officer that wants to use deadly force in any situation. The scrutiny is too much, particularly in today’s climate,” Solan said.

“If there were people who wanted to take a life that I worked with, I’d turn them in. Yes we make mistakes, but you’ll see mistakes in any profession across this country.”

It’s the political discourse being inserted into public safety which worries Solan, and results in initiatives like I-940, which he says is completely unreasonable oversight on cops.

“It leads to a degrade in morale, and then it leads to the crisis we’re seeing — not only in this state, but nationwide — of a mass exodus of officers not wanting to do this job as a profession anymore,” he said.

“There’s too much on the line for your liberty, and for your financial well-being when it comes to your family being torn apart.”

Seattle Police Officer Mike Solan will join the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

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Seattle cop: Initiative 940 will create political prosecutions of police officers