FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies block off access to the Kent Station parking garage after a deputy shot and killed a suspect in a reportedly stolen Honda Civic in 2018.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies block off access to the Kent Station parking garage after a deputy shot and killed a suspect in a reportedly stolen Honda Civic in 2018.

King County Sheriff’s Office develops I-940 training to reduce deadly force

Recruits hired after Dec. 7 will need additional training coming out of the academy.

New bias and de-escalation training is being developed by the King County Sheriff’s Office to bring it in line with state law.

Passed by Washington state voters last November, Initiative 940 created rules stating that law enforcement agencies adopt training requirements and curriculum for violence, de-escalation and mental health training. The goal is to help officers have more skills to defuse conflicts without physical or deadly force.

Language in the code emphasizes police learn about subjects such as bias, the history of race and policing in the U.S., interacting with communities of color and the LGBTQ community, people in mental distress and rendering first aid. Training regimes must be approved by the state Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC).

Beginning Dec. 7, all new officers will need to complete a minimum of 200 hours of de-escalation and mental health training in law enforcement academy. All other officers in the state who have been certified before then will need to complete at least 40 hours of continuing training every three years. Current officers have until 2028 to complete this training.

Deborah Jacobs, director of the county’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, said many deputies have already taken crisis intervention training in recent years. Jacobs said Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht is committed to layering ongoing training.

“Given our increased population and the diversity of our population in King County, it’s always been my point of view that we should be at the top tier, and I think Seattle Police Department and ourselves have done an exceptional job over the course of time,” Johanknecht said at a July 23 county Law and Justice Committee meeting.

The King County Council withheld $1.1 million in funding from the Sheriff’s Office for training, which the committee voted to release following its meeting. This funding will go toward finishing the required training. Jacobs said in an interview that the King County Sheriff’s Office was ahead of the curve statewide for de-escalation training.

I-940 was approved by state voters and later slightly amended by the state Legislature during the 2019 session. It requires use-of-force cases to pass a bar where other officers in the same circumstances would have believed deadly force was necessary. Previously, in order to convict an officer of improperly using deadly force, the prosecution had to prove malice. This was a standard unique to Washington state and was difficult to prosecute.

In addition to de-escalation training, officers in the state are now obligated to provide first aid as soon as it is safe for them to do so. Officers are required to balance their duties with keeping people alive who are part of deadly force uses by police.

According to a study published in August 2018 by the University of Washington and Cornell University, people of color were more likely to be killed by police in metro areas. In Washington state, roughly three black men per 100,000 are killed by police each year, compared to an average of one per 100,000 among Latino men. Police killed less than one per 100,000 among white men, the study found. The risk was higher in larger urban areas, but the report found that the majority of the deaths occurred in less-populated areas.

“These data indicate that police-involved deaths are more common and reaffirms that structural racism, racialized criminal-legal systems, anti-immigrant mobilizations and racial politics all likely play a role in explaining where police killings are most frequent and who is most likely to be a victim,” said researcher Frank Edwards in the UW report summary.

In King County, The Stranger reported in April that 16 people had been killed by law enforcement in the previous two years across all jurisdictions.

More in News

Issaquah candidate campaign funding

Many candidates chose to raise less than $5,000, allowing them not to report.

Mayor Mary Lou Pauly has appointed Wally Bobkiewicz as Issaquah’s next city administrator. Photo courtesy of city of Issaquah
Wally Bobkiewicz is Issaquah’s new city administrator

The city council confirmed the appointment during its Aug. 12 meeting.

Mark Lundborg, fencer and CFO of Issaquah’s Washington Fencing Academy (WFA), will be competing in the 2019 Veteran World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. Madison Miller / staff photo
Lundborg to compete in at the 2019 Veteran World Championships

The 59-year-old recently won the veteran men’s individual saber at the 2019 USA Fencing National Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

District Court Judge Peter Nault dies after 25 years on the bench

The county council will appoint a judge to fill the open spot.

Dave Stuby’s long career in dispatching was honored last month during a governing board meeting in Kirkland. He is the first enrolled in NORCOM’s Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of NORCOM
Issaquah resident spent 33 years in 911 dispatching

Dave Stuby is the first enrolled in NORCOM’s Hall of Fame.

The intended bike park will be located near the soccer fields of Pad 3, under the BPA power lines and north of the Central Park-Falls Drive trail. Photo courtesy of the city of Issaquah
Bike park construction expected in 2020 if funding is secured

Issaquah Highlands plans to implement a bike park in Central Park.

Rattlesnake Lake. Image by Google Maps
Issaquah man drowns at Rattlesnake Lake

Body recovered by dive unit on Aug. 7.

Spring Chinook salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish and Wildlife Service
State awards millions for salmon recovery

Puget Sound counties received more than $45 million.

Marty Wine and Wally Bobkiewicz are the two finalists for Issaquah’s city administrator. Madeline Coats/staff photo
Two candidates remain for the open city administrator position

Marty Wine and Wally Bobkiewicz sat down with city officials and residents of Issaquah.

Most Read