Restore “Reasonable Suspicion” for Police Pursuit

All updates to this webpage will cease at midnight on March 7. No further updates will occur until after the election in November. 


During the 2021 session, Democratic majorities changed a state law to limit the ability of officers to do vehicle pursuits of suspects. Before this change in the law, officers only needed “reasonable suspicion” to initiate a vehicle pursuit of a suspect. Under the 2021 law, most vehicle pursuits are only allowed based on “probable cause.”

The new law has forced officers to watch criminals drive away. It also has emboldened criminals to commit other crimes like auto theft and retail theft. Many people throughout Washington have been victimized. Over the past two years, our state has been shaken by an auto-theft crisis.

According to the Washington State Patrol, between 2014 and 2020 an average of 1,200 suspects per year fled from police. In 2022, after the pursuit standard was changed to probable cause, 3,100 suspects fled — an increase of more than 150%. Before the change in this law, the statewide record for stolen cars in a single year was 30,000. That record increased to nearly 47,000 stolen vehicles in 2022.

Washington is fourth in the U.S. for auto thefts per capita.

During the 2023 legislative session, the Legislature approved Senate Bill 5352, which allows law-enforcement officers to engage in vehicle pursuits in more situations than Washington law has allowed since 2021.

The 2023 law limits vehicle pursuits to situations where the subject of the pursuit poses a serious risk of harm to others, as opposed to an “imminent threat” to the safety of others. SB 5352 allows a vehicle pursuit if there is reasonable suspicion, but only for suspicion of violent offenses, sex offenses, vehicular assault offenses, assault in the first-to-fourth degree involving domestic violence, an escape offense, or a driving-under-the-influence offense.

Many SB 5352 opponents have argued it still doesn’t go far enough to allow law-enforcement officers to pursue car thieves and the reckless drivers who have benefited from the restrictions put on pursuits by the majority Democrats in 2021.

Initiative 2113 was filed out of public frustration with the Democrat-led Legislature for passing the 2021 law that severely weakened officers’ ability to pursue suspects, which is a key reason for the increase of crime in Washington. People are sick and tired of rising crime and police officers not being allowed to do their job to pursue and arrest suspects.

I-2113 passed the Legislature on March 4, 2024 and will return the standard for vehicular pursuit to “reasonable suspicion,” which will give law enforcement more discretion in the field on when to pursue a suspect. Republicans strongly supported this initiative. 

Watch senator testimony before the committee vote

Initiative 2113 was voted out of the Senate Law & Justice Committee on March 1, 2024. Republican Senators Mike Padden, Keith Wagoner, Lynda Wilson, Jim McCune and Nikki Torres spoke in support of I-2113.

Watch the hearing

The House and Senate committees that address law and justice issues held a joint hearing Feb. 28 for I-2113. Nearly 6,000 people signed in to either support or oppose I-2113. Approximately 97% signed in PRO. Watch the hearing. 

Additional testimony:

Why is this initiative necessary?

Victory on I-2113!

I-2113 passed in the Senate 36-13. It passed in the House 77-20. Since Democrats have the majority in both chambers, it’s clear that I-2113 had strong bipartisan support. Are Democrats realizing that the 2021 changes to the pursuit laws were a dangerous mistake?

Watch and listen to these Senators speak on I-2113 during the floor debate.

In the News


Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, says there’s still time to give the remaining three initiatives a hearing. Read the full statement.

“Some opponents of the initiatives have testified that the Legislature has better things to do than hold these hearings. I couldn’t disagree more – upholding our state constitution should never be characterized as a waste of time. It’s been a tough fight to get Democrats to perform their constitutional duty by prioritizing the initiatives over everything except bills that involve appropriations, but I see no reason why the majority can’t find three more hours in the next week to listen to the people on the three remaining measures. The fight isn’t over. We’ll continue to call upon them to do the right thing and listen to the people.”

Sen. John Braun

20th LD

Police Discretion & Local Control

Local law enforcement must have the discretion to respond to threats in their community. Restoring the standard for vehicular pursuit to “reasonable suspicion” places the public trust in the professional knowledge, experience and judgment of local law enforcement. Two p.m. in downtown Seattle is different than 2 a.m. in Omak. Allow those who are charged with our safety to do their jobs.

Pass the Initiative

There has been a battle over data determining whether restricting police pursuits makes the roads safer. One thing is clear: Overall safety trends are going in the wrong direction. In 2022, there were 743 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes in Washington. That’s expected to rise to more than 770 when the final numbers are counted for 2023.

The Legislature ought to pass I-2113 this session, leaving the November ballot for other pressing issues. 

The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Why is this initiative necessary?

Initiative 2113 – Reauthorizing “reasonable suspicion” as the standard for the police vehicular pursuit of criminals was necessitated by the overwhelming Democrat vote for House Bill 1054 in 2021, which was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. HB 1054 banned reasonable police pursuit.


Three things are very clear. Our streets are more dangerous now than before the change in the law. Forbidding officers to pursue without probable cause emboldens and encourages criminals to victimize others. And our communities can’t afford to wait around one or two years for Democrats, or the CJTC, to act.

Sen. John Braun

20th LD

In the News

I think the word is out that if you want to commit a crime in the state, do it in a stolen car because you can’t be pursued.
Andy Hwang

Federal Way Chief of Police

“Supporters of the no-pursuit law say it was passed in the name of “safety.” Some supporters still say that there is no data saying the law is unsafe, so we do not need to restore the ability of police to help catch dangerous criminals. When they say that, they are ignoring Immaculee and Kathleen, the two children who were recently killed in Sunnyside by a driver who could have been stopped, and every other person killed or injured because the police weren’t allowed to stop a criminal. They are saying those people don’t even count as data. Opponents of restoring police pursuit are ignoring everything that doesn’t support what they want.

“The truth is that there is data, but it shows that the no-pursuit law has made Washington less safe. The data they used to pass this law have been debunked but the law still hasn’t been changed. I wish people would just look beyond party lines to see and hear us as people. I know it takes bravery, but that’s how you keep people safe.”

WATCH: Amber’s testimony before the Legislature

Amber Goldade

Mother of Immaculee Goldade