(Oct. 29, 2018) — In this fall’s election, voters are deciding on Initiative 940, which is intended to save lives by providing all law enforcement officers in Washington with enhanced de-escalation, first aid, and mental health crisis training, while also implementing a new test to determine whether law enforcement officers’ use of deadly force is justifiable. Sponsored by a coalition of civil rights groups known as De-Escalate Washington, I-940 is endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
“No matter our differences, all of us want to ensure our families, communities, and law enforcement are safe,” writes De-Escalate Washington:
“But last year, more people were killed in encounters with law enforcement than in 45 other states, and almost a third of those killed were experiencing a mental health crisis. No officer wants to find themselves in this situation, but right now officers in Washington aren’t provided with enough training to help them de-escalate a potentially deadly encounter. Initiative 940 will help save lives by providing all law enforcement officers in Washington with enhanced de-escalation, first aid, and mental health crisis training, so officers are better prepared to handle challenging situations. We can make Washington safer for families, communities, and law enforcement.”
I-940 was approved by the Washington State Legislature earlier this year but also amended, with the support of De-Escalate Washington and police groups. However, a court ruled that the Legislature could not amend the measure, so I-940 now appears on voters’ ballots in its original form, as it was endorsed by the WSLC. I-940 is also endorsed by a long list of labor, tribal, civic and community organizations, and prominent elected officials.
Learn more about I-940, including how to support the campaign, at www.deescalatewa.org.