In May 2017, Initiative 940 (I-940) was filed with the legislature in an effort to establish higher training requirements and police accountability standards. After filing for approval, the campaign officially began gathering public support. Led by De-Escalate Washington and the Puyallup Tribe, the goals of this campaign were to:
- Require de-escalation and mental health training for law enforcement.
- Require first aid training for law enforcement and require that they render first aid at the earliest safe opportunity to injured persons at a scene controlled by law enforcement.
- Replace the requirement that “malice” must be proven in order to bring criminal charges to a law enforcement officer, with an objective “good faith standard”.
- Require a completely independent investigation into officer involved uses of deadly force.
- Require notification and involvement of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs (GOIA) if a Tribal member is killed or injured in an officer involved use of deadly force.
- Include community stakeholders from diverse groups in rulemaking discussions.
After working with community organizations and gathering the support of the public, De-Escalate Washington and the Puyallup Tribe delivered 360,000 signatures in support of I-940 to the Office of the Secretary of State. Washington voters passed the initiative in the November 2018 election. I-940 was then modified into Substitute House Bill 1064 (SHB 1064).
Following the passage of I-940 and SHB 1064, the legislation was renamed to the Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act (LETCSA). The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) began to work with named statutory stakeholders to create and adopt rules for new officer training requirements (WAC 139-11) and independent investigations criteria for officer involved uses of deadly force (WAC 139-12). These WACs have been adopted and are currently in effect.
The WSCJTC is working diligently to create course curriculum for law enforcement officers and documents to assist the independent investigation teams. As these courses and documents become available, they will be posted to our webpage for public access. For more information about LETCSA please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or Resources page. If you would like to be placed on our distribution list and receive updates on LETCSA, please use our sign up form.
The WSCJTC is currently developing course curriculum mandated by WAC 139-11. Once complete, these courses will be posted to the WSCJTC website and linked on this page.
The following topics will be covered in the training of law enforcement officers:
- Patrol Tactics
- The Historical Intersection of Race and Policing
- Alternatives to Booking
- Implicit and Explicit Bias
- Understanding Local Cultures
On December 5, 2019, the WSCJTC adopted rules for a completely independent investigation into officer involved uses of deadly force. The main focuses of these rules, known as WAC 139-12, are independence, transparency, community, and credibility; the principles that are key to enhancing public trust. Some highlights of the rules are:
- The addition of community representatives to the independent investigation team (IIT)
- Training and experience requirements for the law enforcement members of the IIT
- Certification of the IIT lead investigators
- Information about the role of the involved agency
- Details regarding how investigation information will be shared with the public
My-Le Tang, LETCSA Program Manager