Under Washington Law officers can only be decertified under a very narrow set of circumstances. Often the process drags on for years and years. This is so regardless of how egregious the misconduct may have been, and officers generally get to maintain their badge during the process. Clearly that is problem and may inhibit timely officer accountability. Due to these tumultuous times, the State Legislature has taken notice and is now considering overhauling Washington’s peace officer decertification system. If decertified, an officer loses his badge and gun, permanently.
As it stands currently, decertification of officers rarely occur in Washington State, even if it is warranted. Some say there needs to be more civilian oversight and the grounds for decertification should be broadened – i.e. to include things like use of excessive force.
If the Legislature does elect to make changes, Washington will be one of the most stringent states in the union for officer decertification. Questions abound, of course. Does a more rigid decertification system benefit our cities and counties? Is too much oversight a good or a bad thing? Should non-law enforcement citizenry really have a say in the process? Is more say by citizenry too progressive or is it simply necessary considering the current state-of-affairs in policing? Well … we shall all see soon enough because the times they are a-changin’, in the oh so poetic words of Bob Dylan.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, don’t hesitate to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.