Virtual Meeting Highlights
This was an irregular session. The next one was to be and will be in March. I attended the whole meeting from 10:00AM until 12noon. There was no public input. There is a way to ask questions or give input on cjtc.wa.gov before each meeting.
The Commission members and Director are appointed by the Governor. The Chair was Chief Jeff Meyers of Hoquiam PD. The Director was Sue Rahr. These were obviously people who know each other and were used to working with each other. They were all attentive and courteous. They noticed that the composition of the Commission is changing from Officers to more civilians.
Summary of Discussion
Chair Myers stated in his opening remarks that decertification should not be controlled by the officer’s hiring entity. There is a new legislative bill spelling out the decertification of commissioned officers as such officers could leave a hiring authority for bad conduct and go to another to be hired as commissioned officers. The hiring agency often does not wish to be liable for the conduct.
Director Sue Rahr gave her report of the Commission and a Legislative overview. She remarked that the Training Commission was one of a few that stayed open during the COVID-19 quarantine nationwide. There have been soft shut downs due to COVID-19, but all recruits are now having fast test kits of 15 minutes. Firefighters will give the vaccine. The Commission will have to decide what to do with employees who won’t get the vaccine.
HB1310 will offer training and information bulletins on a phone app to every officer though out the state.
HB 5056 will require an officer to intervene on a peer who is doing something unlawful, focuses on wellness programs to modify the behavior.
HB1267 creates an Independent Investigation Agency. CJTC had a program to train for this, but bad actions by different agencies led to public backlash and support for more independent oversight. There has been such a culture change about policing, the ground is shifting. There was some thought that the issue could be better handled by calling out the agencies who had done badly and give Initiative 940 a chance to work. The entire new agency will be expensive and take 5 years to launch.
HB1082 is about the duties of the CJTC that is required to investigate bad behavior of commissioned officers. Elected Sheriffs are included. The definition of disqualifying conduct has not changed.
A discussion about Reserve Officers stated that such officers have to have training of about 640 hours.
Sue Rahr is retiring at some future date. She had a recommendation for an acting Director until a nationwide search could be done, Monica Alexander, whom Sue has prepared. Monica has experience with legislatures, is a hard worker, and has courage. The Commission voted for her to be acting director as soon as Sue Rahr retires.
This Observer notes that the Commission is dealing with a groundswell of legislation due to this year’s political events and the public reaction to policing, and the big change of Sue Rhar leaving. She will be missed but deserves a happy retirement.
Read the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, The Voter, for a detailed look at current events in the League.
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