More and more state laws are standing in the way of law enforcement officers doing their jobs. For example, once, officers were able to apprehend suspects based on probable cause, whereas, in many current incidents, officers need confirmation before they initiate a pursuit.
In Washington, an officer cannot pursue an armed carjacker unless they know for a fact that the person driving the vehicle is the suspect. Officer blame the new law for hindering their efforts in a recent carjacking case.
Use of Force
A woman was held at gunpoint last week, and a carjacker stole her vehicle, said officers. They can still go after the suspect, but they have to be 100% sure it is the suspect in the car.
The Auburn Police Department took to their Facebook account detailing how their hands are tied in this situation.
“Without anyone observing the driver, identifying the driver or any other possible occupants in the vehicle, there was no probable cause for anyone in the vehicle regarding this robbery case. Due to the recent legislative changes regarding vehicle pursuits and use of force in Washington State, we were not legally allowed to pursue the vehicle.”Auburn Police Department
At 2:30 p,m. on Aug. 31, the APD was alerted to a woman carjacked near their substation on Lea Hill. According to the APD, she was driving a 2016 Lexus RX with LoJack, tracking, and the woman identified the suspect through a series of photographs.
One of the King County Sheriff's Office helicopters was employed with its tracking technology to find the vehicle. It was found backing into an apartment complex at 3 p.m.
Two men were getting out of the car, but officers could not identify either of them. One left, walking across the parking lot, while the other man got into the vehicle.
The officer attempted to stay with the car to identify the driver but eventually lost the car, and the helicopter had to refuel. Since they could not accurately identify the driver and did not have probable cause for a violent offense, they had to discontinue the pursuit of the stolen vehicle.
All members of law enforcement have to follow the new rules under HB1310, which ultimately let a car thief get away with the vehicle and there was nothing they could do about it.