DORI MONSON

Police officer: I-940 dangerously favors offenders over law and citizens

Oct 19, 2018, 5:56 AM | Updated: 3:56 pm

I-940...

Seattle police. (Jason Rantz, KTTH)

(Jason Rantz, KTTH)

A local law enforcement officer warns that I-940, a measure proponents claim will decrease police officers’ use of deadly force, is actually part of a dangerous agenda to punish officers who are put in the difficult, gut-wrenching situation of having to use a firearm.

“The problem with 940 is that the devil is in the details; 940 is not about training,” Seattle Police Officer Mike Solan of the Coalition for a Safer Washington told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “That is a false claim. What this is truly about is to make it very, very easy to politically prosecute police officers for doing their jobs.”

The initiative, sponsored by De-Escalate Washington, states that it will “apply a good faith standard for use of deadly force and remove the de facto immunity,” as well as mandating “completely independent investigations of use of deadly force when there is injury or death.” It would establish new training methods and standards. One of the major arguments in support of I-940 is that it provides mental health and crisis training for law enforcement officers to help them diffuse dangerous situations.

RELATED: How I-940 will empower criminals, not cops

As Solan points out, however, police officers already receive compulsory crisis intervention and de-escalation training through RCW 43.101.427. The training, which is a national model, includes an eight-hour course, a two-hour refresher, and an optional in-depth, 40-hour course that Solan said 3,000 officers in Washington have already completed.

“This isn’t about training,” Solan said. “To be clear — we already receive this training.”

I-940 could easily cause the deaths of officers and countless innocent citizens by handicapping police in a life-or-death situation. Solan pointed out that in a standoff with a violent criminal, such as an active shooter, if an officer takes even a couple of seconds to hesitate, he or she can die.

While the campaign’s wording may look good at first glance, Solan said that the fine print of the measure exposes some disturbing plans. For example, the initiative states that certain “community stakeholders” — including non-citizens, youth, and former convicts — will help set training requirements for police officers.

RELATED: Seattle police officers’ hands are tied by city leadership — it’s no wonder we don’t have enough cops

The passage of I-940 would be especially dangerous because it would set a precedent for the rest of the nation, Solan said.

“I-940 is the first test to take this model and take it nationwide … they’ll take this all the way to the Mississippi,” he said. “We must stop 940; it is a social justice agenda that the nucleus, the brainchild, started here in King County. And I do not want — nor should the communities across the state want — Seattle’s social justice ideology infecting voters across the state.”

The main point that Solan wants voters to remember is that police officers are not bloodthirsty monsters, but rather individuals who devote their lives to protecting the community and try at all costs to avoid taking lives.

“Police officers are human beings — we’re moms and dads, we’re brothers and sisters, we’re coaches, we’re neighbors,” he said. “We do not want to take anyone’s life — in fact, we took an oath to preserve lives.”

If this passes, then Solan predicts a “crisis as far as staffing, current recruiting, and retention.”

Solan said that wants to enact reforms in terms of use of force, but that I-940 is not the way to take these steps.

“We are all for having a discussion regarding use of force,” Solan said. “But this does not get it done.”

He also said that there is one point on which both the “yes” and “no” campaigns agree.

“We are all for saving lives,” Solan said. “I don’t know any law enforcement officer that I work with or that I know who wants to take a life.”

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