Herrera Beutler introduces bill to incentivize states like Washington to reverse bad Police Laws


Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler today introduced legislation, the Refund the Police Act, that will provide federal law enforcement grants as an incentive for states like Washington to reverse their harmful “police reform” laws. Law enforcement officials in Southwest Washington and across the state have shared extensive concerns with how various legislative proposals and laws harm the ability of police to keep communities safe. 

“I’ve had countless conversations with local law enforcement officers and without exception, they point to Washington’s so-called police reform bills as contributors to rising crime in our communities. The stated goals for these bills are admirable, but what has resulted is emboldened criminals, demoralized officers whose jobs are more dangerous, and rising crime,” Herrera Beutler said. “It’s time for Washington to reverse course on failed police laws, which is why I’m introducing the Refund the Police Act in Congress to encourage Washington to pursue policies that support safer communities.”

“The Refund the Police Act also sends a message to other states that say, ‘don’t follow Washington’s lead,’ and incentivizes them to steer clear of these bad bills that handcuff police and make our communities less safe.”

Background on Washington police reform laws:

In recent months, law enforcement officials in Southwest Washington and across the state have been sounding the alarm that new Washington state police “reform” policies are hindering police response and emboldening criminals.

One of the bills, H.B. 1310, restricts a police officer from detaining a person fleeing the scene of an armed robbery – even if the person matches the description of the suspect. And unless there is a threat of another crime or imminent harm, the officer is encouraged to leave or face state decertification.

And another bill pre-filed this year in Olympia, H.B. 1692, would “eliminate drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree.” The bill would also lead to earlier releases for those already in prison for ending others’ lives.

Refund the Police Act specifics:

The bill would authorize $25 million per year, for 5 years, through COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Grants administered by the Department of Justice. To be eligible for these grants, a state or local government must:

  • Not have in effect a law (like H.B. 1310) requiring a heightened standard for use of force. This standard means requiring law enforcement officers to use more than reasonable care in determining whether to use physical force against an alleged perpetrator, as well as the standard that forces officers to leave an area instead of using force if there is not the threat of imminent harm and if no crime has been committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed.
  • Expanded efforts to hire and retain officers.
  • Not have taken steps in the previous year to eliminate drive-by shooting as a basis for murder in the first degree.