Sheriff Rob Snaza Clarifies Tactics Banned or Limited Under New Police Reform Laws

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On Tuesday, Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza published a list of policing tactics that have been limited or banned under the state’s police accountability laws, along with the department’s history with those tactics and how its policies have changed to comply with the new legislation.

Snaza has publicly spoken out against the 12 police accountability bills that were passed in the state Legislature last session, specifically chastising House Bills 1310 and 1054, which mitigate excessive use of force and establish requirements for tactics and equipment used by peace officers, respectively. Both laws took effect on July 15.

Snaza’s recent news release addresses tactics that have been limited or banned under HB 1054.

“Some of these tactics have seldom been, if ever, used by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). However, others are tactics that we have trained for and used, when necessary, as a specific situation would reasonably dictate,” said Snaza in the news release.

Below is a list of the tactics and equipment affected by HB 1054, and Snaza’s comments on the LCSO’s history with those tactics and their permitted usage under the new law.

 

Neck Restraints

Peace officers are not allowed to use chokeholds or neck restraints, defined as tactics in which pressure is applied to the neck for the purpose of restricting blood flow, on another person.

“While LCSO deputies have been trained on the use of this restraint method (not chokeholds), they have been seldom used and moving forward, based on this new legislation, will not be used,” Snaza said. 

 

No-Knock Warrants

No-knock warrants, defined as search warrants authorizing peace officers to enter certain premises without first announcing their presence, identifying themselves and stating their purpose, are prohibited. Peace officers may only break into a residence, building or any other enclosure to make an arrest if the officer previously gave notice of their office and purpose and they were refused admittance.

“As anecdotal information, the LCSO has not served a no-knock warrant during my time as elected sheriff,” Snaza said.

Tear Gas

Law enforcement cannot deploy tear gas unless its use is authorized by the county’s highest elected official, and they are only allowed to authorize its use if it’s deemed “necessary to alleviate the present risk of serious harm” posed by a riot, a barricaded subject or a hostage situation. All other alternatives must be exhausted before tear gas can be authorized, and all subjects have to be given “sufficient time and space” to comply with officer’s directives before tear gas can be deployed.

“Tear gas is a tool that has been used by law enforcement across the county, when necessary, to manage crowds that are creating public safety risks. Fortunately, its use in Lewis County for these reasons has not been necessary while I’ve been sheriff,” Snaza said.

The sheriff’s office and the Board of County Commissioners are currently seeking clarification from the  state Attorney General’s Office regarding which elected officials can authorize the use of tear gas.

 

Military-Type Equipment

Law enforcement is not allowed to acquire or use “any military-type equipment,” specifically, firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, machine guns, armed helicopters, armed or armored drones, armed vessels, armed vehicles, armed aircraft, tanks, long range acoustic hailing devices, rockets, rocket launchers, bayonets, grenades, missiles, directed energy systems and electromagnetic spectrum weapons.

“LCSO previously used 12-gauge shotguns and 40 mm launchers for deployment of less lethal munitions, such as bean bags. By definition, these firearms/launchers are greater than .50 caliber and are therefore specifically prohibited for use by law enforcement. As such, our deputies no longer have these tools at their disposal,” said Snaza. “Because of these restrictions, we are researching other equipment options to aid our deputies in community safety services while complying with the specific legislative restrictions.”

Lawmakers have previously stated that a discrepancy between the reform laws regarding the use of large-gauge non-lethal munitions, such as bean bags, will be addressed in the upcoming legislative session.

 

Vehicular Pursuits

Vehicular pursuits are allowed if there is probable cause to believe a person in the vehicle has committed a violent or sex offense, or if there is reasonable suspicion that someone in the vehicle is driving under the influence. The subject must also be deemed an “imminent threat” to the safety of others, and the safety risk of failing to apprehend or identify the subject must be greater than the safety risk posed by a vehicle pursuit.

“LCSO has always had a policy allowing for vehicular pursuits, but only under certain circumstances, and deputies had engaged in justified vehicle pursuits several times each year,” Snaza said. “Under the previous law, law enforcement could have pursued individuals suspected of committing any serious crime (for example stolen vehicles), even if probable cause had yet to be established. Under the new law, such pursuits will no longer be allowed.”

 

Dialogue With Public

“As stated in previous releases, we look forward to continued open dialogue with community members about the new laws as they are implemented, along with working in partnerships to discover innovative ways within the confines of these new laws to address public safety concerns,” said Snaza in the news release. “We thank you for your interest and continued support, and please do not hesitate to inquire about these changes, and/or future legislative adjustments or clarifications that come about, or any other aspect of the services we provide.”

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office can be contacted at 360-748-9286. More information can be found online at www.lewiscountywa.gov/sheriff.

 

 

 

 

Comments

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Bradd Reynolds

This news release by Sheriff Snaza is another example of his leadership, and dedication to our community.

All 12 of the recent police reform laws were written and passed as knee jerk reactions to problems that were all but non existent for our local police department, and most police departments across the state.

When police officers intentionally violated the rights of a suspect or any state or federal laws that were previously on the books, they were held accountable.

Officers were disciplined, when warranted charged with a crime and if found guilty sent to prison.

They have always been held accountable.

When a police officer used deadly force he was investigated by up to 5 different investigative entities. They did not simply walk away with no accountability.

The new use of force laws put officers and civilands at risk and ties the hands of the officers. Giving the criminals the upper hand should they choose to resist arrest or assault an officer or commit a crime against a citizen.

The new pursuit law gives anyone from a speeding motorists to a violent felon the green light to simply speed off into the night. Read the actual law and you will see it is in fact redickulus to expect any police officer to give chase to anyone, if they are to follow the actual law.

Taking valuable equipment and tools away from our police officers when those tools and equipment have been employed successfully for decades shows again our legislators really had no clue what they were doing. And the harm they were doing to our communities.

Look closely at the new laws. Each of them are designed to accomplish two things.

1. Make the legislators look good to a select special group of individuals. To say, look at me, look how progressive i am. I'm on your side.

2. To ensure that every action by every police officer dealing with a criminal is subject to second guessing arm chair quarterbacks who hold the officers fate in their hands. Two different review boards by civilands will decide if the officer did it exactly they way they think it should have been done. They can then demand termination and or criminal charges. That power should be in the hands of their department and the courts.

A recent Seattle case is living proof. Factual to my claim.

Two Seattle Police Officers were in Washington DC at the Capitol on Jan 6th. During the riots.

Those two officers were off duty. Not in uniform. Not representing the Seattle police department.

They were investigated, for simply being on the grounds at the time, by the Capitol Police. The FBI, Homeland Security, the Justice Department, their own Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Police Departments Civiland oversight review board.

It was found by every one of the investigating groups, everyone of them... that the 2 Seattle Police Officers "committed no crimes and violated no department policy"

The 2 officers did not go over a fence or around a fence. They did not go onto the Capitol building proper or at any time enter the Capitol building.

They did not assault anyone or damage any property.

Yet in spite of that finding by every enity that investigated them... the Civiland oversight review board recommended they both be fired. Because the 2 officers took no action to stop the riot. And that makes the city of Seattle look bad. ( the same City of Seattle that turned over its streets, 6 city blocks and one of its police stations to rioters who looted, burned, and murdered while have a love feast last summer)

The chief of police took their advice and fired the two officers.

Please understand this..

Those two police officers have zero legal authority or police power outside the state of Washington. Their police commission ends at the state line.

Their was nothing they could do legally to stop or even try to stop the riot. Of they would have as much as put their hands on a person and told them to stop rioting. They would have been committing an assault and could have been arrested, fired, and sued.

This is what our police officers are now dealing with.

Thursday, September 16
Bradd Reynolds

This news release by Sheriff Snaza is another example of his leadership, and dedication to our community.

All 12 of the recent police reform laws were written and passed as knee jerk reactions to problems that were all but non existent for our local police department, and most police departments across the state.

When police officers intentionally violated the rights of a suspect or any state or federal laws that were previously on the books, they were held accountable.

Officers were disciplined, when warranted charged with a crime and if found guilty sent to prison.

They have always been held accountable.

When a police officer used deadly force he was investigated by up to 5 different investigative entities. They did not simply walk away with no accountability.

The new use of force laws put officers and civilands at risk and ties the hands of the officers. Giving the criminals the upper hand should they choose to resist arrest or assault an officer or commit a crime against a citizen.

The new pursuit law gives anyone from a speeding motorists to a violent felon the green light to simply speed off into the night. Read the actual law and you will see it is in fact redickulus to expect any police officer to give chase to anyone, if they are to follow the actual law.

Taking valuable equipment and tools away from our police officers when those tools and equipment have been employed successfully for decades shows again our legislators really had no clue what they were doing. And the harm they were doing to our communities.

Look closely at the new laws. Each of them are designed to accomplish two things.

1. Make the legislators look good to a select special group of individuals. To say, look at me, look how progressive i am. I'm on your side.

2. To ensure that every action by every police officer dealing with a criminal is subject to second guessing arm chair quarterbacks who hold the officers fate in their hands. Two different review boards by civilands will decide if the officer did it exactly they way they think it should have been done. They can then demand termination and or criminal charges. That power should be in the hands of their department and the courts.

A recent Seattle case is living proof. Factual to my claim.

Two Seattle Police Officers were in Washington DC at the Capitol on Jan 6th. During the riots.

Those two officers were off duty. Not in uniform. Not representing the Seattle police department.

They were investigated, for simply being on the grounds at the time, by the Capitol Police. The FBI, Homeland Security, the Justice Department, their own Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Police Departments Civiland oversight review board.

It was found by every one of the investigating groups, everyone of them... that the 2 Seattle Police Officers "committed no crimes and violated no department policy"

The 2 officers did not go over a fence or around a fence. They did not go onto the Capitol building proper or at any time enter the Capitol building.

They did not assault anyone or damage any property.

Yet in spite of that finding by every enity that investigated them... the Civiland oversight review board recommended they both be fired. Because the 2 officers took no action to stop the riot. And that makes the city of Seattle look bad. ( the same City of Seattle that turned over its streets, 6 city blocks and one of its police stations to rioters who looted, burned, and murdered while have a love feast last summer)

The chief of police took their advice and fired the two officers.

Please understand this..

Those two police officers have zero legal authority or police power outside the state of Washington. Their police commission ends at the state line.

Their was nothing they could do legally to stop or even try to stop the riot. Of they would have as much as put their hands on a person and told them to stop rioting. They would have been committing an assault and could have been arrested, fired, and sued.

This is what our police officers are now dealing with.

Thursday, September 16
CCHAK0

Bradd Reynolds: Not surprised you are sticking up for bad cops! Didn't your son get fired from Centralia Police for a laundry list of discipline and excessive force violations?

The Chronicle itself couldn't believe taxpayers were force to pay a cop who killed a cat with a hammer.

https://www.chronline.com/stories/our-views-ruling-favoring-centralia-officer-difficult-to-understand,84507

So Bradd, why don't you focus on your own bad cops and forgive me for not thinking much of what you think good policing is.

Thursday, September 16
R. Ganowicz

Gender dysphoria is a mental illness.

Friday, September 17
Jamesc377

I for one absolutely agree these “protectors” need to be reeled in. I find the lcso is nothing but a bunch of Badge Emboldened, Gun Toting,…. I’ve called them twice and will never call or trust the lcso ever again. And doesn’t. Ol’ rob have any pictures other than his “Don’t be a sheep” speech? Hmm, don’t be a sheep, don’t listen to rob snaza!

Tuesday, September 21