CHEHALIS – The next time local police or sheriff’s deputies are called they will be responding a bit differently than before with new law enforcement reforms that took effect on Sunday. Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza says the new police-related bills passed by Democrats in the state legislature this year will impact how calls for domestic violence and mental health are handled, and make communities less safe, “Until the legislature comes back and changes the laws, we’re not going to be able to use items we have in our arsenal to de-escalate situations.” The new laws include a ban on chokeholds and neck restraints. They also restrict the use of tear gas and prohibit police agencies from buying military equipment. No-knock warrants also are banned under the new law. Officers are now required to use the least amount of physical force possible. It’s caused Sheriff Snaza to take all less-lethal shotguns out of patrol cars. To lessen potential liabilities, the Sheriff says patrol car dash cameras will soon be installed and deputy body cams will be in use by this fall. Sheriff Snaza and state Senator John Braun (R-Centralia) are sharing the consequences on the lack of tactics and equipment used by peace officers. “This is creating decidedly unsafe conditions for folks around the state. We agree there is some degree of police reform that is appropriate but we need to assure the safety of our communities”, said Braun. Senator Braun and State Representative J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm) are asking the Governor and those that supported the new laws to push back against the “defund Police” movement to address the public safety problems that the new polices have created.

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