Thurston County Sheriff Calls Out Dangerous Fallout of Washington’s New Pursuit Legislation

Yelm, Washington – Following a series of high-speed pursuits that resulted in drivers evading police, Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders expressed his concerns about the state’s pursuit legislation in 2021. Sheriff Sanders took to social media to share a video of a black BMW traveling at approximately 120 mph while he attempted to pull it over using his emergency lights. The sheriff described the reckless behavior of the BMW driver, who was cutting off cars and brake checking them directly in front of him.

According to Sheriff Sanders, the BMW is registered to an individual from Seattle with a criminal record that includes convictions for robbery with a deadly weapon and dealing methamphetamine, as well as an active domestic violence order. In addition to this incident, the Yelm Police reported a separate case of a vehicle fleeing from them, while the Olympia Police had encountered a vehicle fleeing from a traffic stop for theft just a few hours earlier.

Blaming the recent pursuit laws in Washington, Sheriff Sanders argued that these laws empower criminals to elude law enforcement, endangering the safety of the public. In a Facebook post, he criticized the legislation, stating that it fostered a “cancerous mentality” and allowed individuals to act with impunity within the community.

It is currently unknown if any of the drivers involved in these pursuits were ultimately apprehended. Law enforcement agencies are facing an ongoing challenge as they grapple with the implications of the state’s pursuit legislation. The incidents underscore the need to address the concerns raised by Sheriff Sanders and find a balance between public safety and the enforcement of the law.

Efforts are being made by authorities to assess the effectiveness of the pursuit laws and explore potential revisions. As the debate continues, stakeholders are striving to find common ground and ensure that the interests of both law enforcement and the public are protected. These incidents serve as a reminder of the ongoing complexities involved in law enforcement and the importance of continuous evaluation and adaptation to maintain public safety.