WA Rep: Police tactics bill ‘takes away tools’ without providing other options

Police officers attend an injured man detained during a protest after the Nov. 3 elections. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

House bill 1054 appears to significantly reimagine police tactics by strongly restricting the use of tear gas, the use of neck restraints in apprehension, and various other police tactics and tools that some critics say undermine police officers’ ability to prevent violence from escalating. One such critic is Rep. Gina Mosbrucker (R-Goldendale), who joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss why she opposes the bill.

“I think that it it hurts the police officer’s ability to do their jobs. You and I both know the toughest jobs in the nation are often law enforcement, and they put their life on the line every single day, making life or death decisions in a split second in order to keep community members and you and I safe and themselves safe,” she said.

While she supports police reform, she believes this bill is going to far.

“There’s a series of bills that are going through the Legislature this year for police reform, which we don’t mind reforming. We always want to do a better job, but at the same time, what’s happening is the extremity of these bills is very harmful to law enforcement,” she said.

WA Rep: Police tactics bill appeases ‘political group’ at expense of safety

“You and I both know if you’re not safe, nothing else matters. Not taxes, not education, economic development. We have to be safe, and we think these bills jeopardize public safety.”

Mosbrucker argues that putting strict restrictions on the use of tear gas takes away critical tools for officers without creating another path.

“I think the frustrating part is they’re taking away tools for law enforcement without replacing them with other options. And that’s consistent throughout these changes and we’re extremely frustrated trying to put tools back in. One, before law enforcement decides this isn’t the best career anymore, because they can’t keep themselves and civilians safe. And two to just to make sure that we have a way to keep the public safe.”

As Jason suggested, staffing numbers for police officers appear to be trending down in Seattle and in other areas, and with bills like these, he asked: “Why would anyone want to become a police officer in Washington state right now?”

“Well, we’re hoping because we’re fighting to put these tools back in they need to keep us safe. I’m so grateful for everyone who’s in the blue and bleeds blue and is still fighting to protect us,” Mosbrucker responded.

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“We understand that there are some bad police officers out there. We think they — under due process — should be convicted and fully accountable under the law. But at the same time, the vast majority of all police officers save our lives every day.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here