One of the most ridiculous of said policies, which drastically limits the situations in which officers can engage in vehicular pursuits, was implemented in the Emerald City last year.
It’s not exclusive to Seattle either. Because of these policies, criminal pursuits are essentially banned all across the state.
Naturally, the greatest (and likely only) benefactors of this, are the criminals.
On Wednesday, employees of KIRO Newsradio captured a shocking example of this new policy in action when they recorded a driver of a stolen vehicle casually driving away from several police officers who had surrounded the car with their weapons drawn.
The incident happened directly outside their studio in downtown Seattle.
This happened right outside our studios. Guns were drawn on a driver in a stolen car on the sidewalk… but he drives away & thanks to a ridiculous policy, Seattle police can't pursue.
Statewide, pursuits are all but banned too.
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) January 5, 2022
“According to Seattle Police Department Sergeant Randy Huserik, the incident stemmed from a call placed by a passerby, who initially told dispatchers there was a vehicle parked on the sidewalk with its engine running.
Officers responded to the scene, and after making contact with the occupant of the car, discovered from the license plate that the vehicle had been reported stolen. Additional units were then summoned, ‘to assist in attempting to the take the driver who was in possession of a stolen vehicle into custody.’
Video footage taken by KIRO Radio shows that a group of officers proceeded to surround the vehicle with their guns drawn before it fled, driving away on the sidewalk.”
As to why the officers did not pursue the criminal, SPD Seargent Huserik cited the city “pursuit” policy that was implemented last year, saying it restricted them during this incident.
Huserik also noted that the situation would have been the same regardless of the new policy because the deep-blue Washington State’s policies have “been restrictive for some time.”
“Public safety being paramount, we have to factor in time of day, weather conditions, the activity of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area.
Then, of course, we have our pursuit policy in the SPD manual — that dictates when and when we cannot pursue a vehicle, and in this in this circumstance, our pursuit policy did not allow officers to go after that vehicle.”