Solan: ‘Cops can’t do their jobs right now in Seattle’ despite new police pursuit law

May 5, 2023, 2:21 PM


A police cruiser takes part in a pursuit with other cruisers as they attempt to catch a man who stole a car and sped away. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law earlier this week that loosens restrictions on police pursuing criminals — changing the requirement of a pursuit to just reasonable suspicion instead of probable cause. This bill works specifically in cases involving violent offenses, sex offenses, vehicular assault, escapes, domestic violence assaults, and DUIs.

“I believe this is a step forward, a reasonable measure and balance, to ensure public safety,” Inslee said in a press conference during the signing of the bill signing.

The new law also requires any officer who’s involved in a pursuit to have completed numerous steps of training, including — for the Seattle Police Department (SPD) — the completion of an emergency vehicle operators course, have updated emergency vehicle operator training within the last two years, and be certified in at least one pursuit intervention. Each department across the state has different requirements for its police training, but training for these pursuits will be mandated.

New police pursuit bill signed by Gov. Inslee

“The fact is, we’re out of compliance with the training. If we engage in a pursuit, we’re violating state law,” Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told Jason Rantz on KTTH 770 AM. “So it’s a serious problem in terms of the public safety conversation that leads to the community being unsafe because we’re unprepared to deal with this law. And to me, I think there are some serious questions that need to be answered by the department in terms of why did this lapse, and our community is now in more of an unsafe predicament, and I think it’s an unsafe predicament for the officers as well.”

One pursuit intervention officers can be trained in is a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver, a tactic in which a pursuing vehicle forces a fleeing vehicle to turn sideways abruptly, causing the driver to lose control and stop.

“But SPD wouldn’t generally use that method anyway, unless, I guess, for SWAT because that is something that is trained for those officers,” Rantz stated.

“And I actually agree with the training component. I’m a huge proponent of training,” Solan added. “And the better you’re trained in a profession, the better you’re going to be. But the problem is the department left a bunch of training lapse, and it’s kind of a perplexing situation. I think it’s embarrassing to not have the certification, if you will, to do your job effectively and safely.”

Before the legislative session ended in April, a police pursuit bill set to loosen restrictions for chasing criminals narrowly passed in the Washington state Senate before the 5 p.m. deadline with a vote of 26-23 despite its companion bill, House Bill 1363, failing to advance beyond the House floor. Republicans and Democrats voted both ways on the bill — with many arguing it was not about politics but rather about public safety.

More from Jason Rantz: Sen. Mullet may enter governor’s race because ‘Ferguson is more of the same’

The last time the city had its emergency vehicle operations curriculum (EVOC) training was in 2020, but only a very small amount of officers participated, according to Solan. The last time there was a department-wide EVOC training was in 2018.

“We’re talking well over five years ago,” Solan said. “We’re out of compliance, and we can’t stop anybody from fleeing in the city of Seattle.”

Additionally, stop sticks and spike strips — two tools used to impede or stop the movement of wheeled vehicles by puncturing their tires — were taken out of circulation within the SPD in 2020.

“The training could take weeks. We could be unable to pursue crazy offenders that have done egregious criminal acts for several weeks until this is built in and has launched,” Solan said. “It’s a serious, serious problem that is something that just comes down to the basic fundamental of policing, where cops protect people and stop human beings from doing criminal acts. And right now, yes, we can chase people on foot. But we all know that the mode of transportation for criminals is, more often than not, in a vehicle. Cops can’t do their jobs right now in the city of Seattle.”

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.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-7pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Follow @https://twitter.com/jasonrantz...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Elementary sex ed promoted puberty blockers, pubic hair art

An elementary school offered inappropriate sex ed lessons to students without parental consent or district approval.

1 day ago

seattle sucker punched...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man ‘sucker punched’ in downtown Seattle as crime plagues city

A man was "sucker punched" in an unprovoked attack in downtown Seattle over the Memorial Day weekend, according to police.

2 days ago

Seattle police...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Many Seattle city council candidates won’t support police, drug laws

An alarming number of Seattle City Council candidates do not support fully staffing or funding the police department. And nearly a third of the candidates want the police to ignore drug laws.

3 days ago

Bob Ferguson Governor Google data privacy lawsuit...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Progressives shred Bob Ferguson for Governor endorsement

The Bob Ferguson for Governor campaign is off to a rocky start, already alienating Seattle activists after bragging about a police chief's endorsement.

4 days ago

freedom series homelessness...

KTTH staff

KTTH Freedom Series: WA still suffering from crime, homelessness

Local leaders and officials joined the KTTH Freedom Series to discuss solutions to the region's crime and homelessness crisis.

6 days ago

ktth freedom series crime crisis...

KTTH staff

KTTH Freedom Series: State policies created WA crime crisis

Jason Rantz was joined by politicians and authorities to discuss how policy has affected the crime crisis during the KTTH Freedom Series.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Solan: ‘Cops can’t do their jobs right now in Seattle’ despite new police pursuit law