Wash. police leaders seek more officer accountability

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by Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 8:01 PM

SEATTLE (AP) -- Law enforcement leaders in Washington state want more stringent laws in order to purge officers who lie or commit crimes.
 
Washington state lawmakers began considering a bill Friday that would give a state commission more power to decertify officers.
 
Washougal Police Chief Ron Mitchell testified in favor of the proposal, describing how one of his officers was fired and then convicted of assaulting a man who was restrained in the back of his patrol car. That officer was later reinstated by an arbitrator.
 
Mitchell says cases like that give the appearance that law enforcement officers are above the law.
 
Organizations who represent rank-and-file law enforcement officers testified against the bill, saying the new rules could circumvent the existing arbitration process. They say there is a delicate balance between management and labor rights, arguing that the proposed law would unnecessarily tip the scales toward management power.

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