WELCOME TO WASPC

Welcome to the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs (WASPC) web page.  The association was founded in 1963 and consists of executive and top management personnel from law enforcement agencies statewide. Our membership includes sheriffs, police chiefs, the Washington State Patrol, the Washington Department of Corrections, and representatives of a number of federal agencies. WASPC is governed by its executive board.

WASPC is the only association of its kind in the nation combining representatives from local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement into a single body, working toward a common goal. WASPC's function is to provide specific materials and services to all law enforcement agencies in the state, members and non-members alike. The 1975 legislature made WASPC a legal entity designating the association as "combination of units of local government." (RCW 36.28A.010)

Please note: most of our website is public. If you would like access to the members only section, please submit a membership application.

WASPC PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNITY TRUST

Overall:  WASPC advocates for public safety improvements that make everyone safer, including law enforcement.

Perceptions of Law Enforcement:  Law enforcement remains one of the most respected professions in Washington.  Retaining and improving public trust is top priority for WASPC.   We take seriously concerns about police interactions with the community and continuously work to improve our policies, training, culture and transparency.  There is a lack of understanding that the men and women who swear an oath to uphold public safety are required to face violent and chaotic situations.  We accept that responsibility while we also ask individuals to take responsibility for their own actions, for policy makers and elected officials to bring our communities together and for all of us to work together for common solutions. 

Rule of Law:  WASPC strongly urges elected policy makers to create laws that are clear, supported, and can be consistently enforced.  Disagreements or different applications of laws based on political expediency or policy makers’ unwillingness to make difficult decisions leads to reduced trust in the rule of law and is harmful to public safety and public trust.

Deadly Force:  WASPC has worked with advocates and community groups to remove “malice” from the legal standard, to come together and build trust.  We will continue to work to improve training, focus on de-escalation, and provide transparency.  We also expect the community to take responsibility for supporting law enforcement in the split-second decisions required, and to reinforce that reducing officer-involved deadly force incidents will be enhanced by not attacking or fighting with law enforcement.  De-escalation is for everyone. We strongly support the following “Tips for Safety” from the Washington State American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):

  • STAY CALM AND STAY PUT.  Don’t run or suddenly move.
  • KEEP YOUR HANDS where the officer can see them and free of any objects if possible.
  • NEVER TOUCH any police officer.
  • FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. You can always make a complaint later if you feelyour rights were violated.

Criminal Justice Reform:  WASPC acknowledges that implicit and institutional bias and discrimination exist in all aspects of society:  criminal justice, education, housing, health care, finance, and more.  We will work in concert with policy makers and others to make systemic improvements to understand, reduce and control the implicit and institutional biases and barriers that inhibit every person’s success.  Reform in the criminal justice system should be based on public safety outcomes and should not ignore concern for law enforcement, victims of crime, and justice.  Assisting offenders with re-entry and reducing recidivism is good for public safety.  Achievement of these goals are worth our state’s investment of time, money, and resources.

Behavioral Health:  WASPC strongly urges our policy makers to fund and support a robust, “wrap-around’ system for those with serious and untreated mental and behavioral health problems.  WASPC does not believe that further placement into the community and overall reductions of institutions for those with most serious illnesses is good policy.  Placing people with serious health issues out onto the street is not compassionate and can result in increased calls for service, and potential violent interactions with the public and law enforcement.

Homelessness:  WASPC supports a comprehensive approach to homelessness.  There are many complex dynamics that contribute to the issue. Criminal transients and those who willingly commit crimes should be prosecuted within the law.  They are not in the same category as homeless persons, including those with behavioral health problems and addictions, who need and will accept help.  We urge policy makers to delineate between these two groups and solutions should recognize their differences.

Basic Law Enforcement Training:  Washington should fully fund the basic law enforcement academy.  The surcharge on traffic tickets, which formerly funded all basic training, was redirected by the legislature into the general fund many years ago and led to long delays between when officers are hired and can be properly trained.  Funding of basic training is a state responsibility.

Public Safety Funding:  Public safety is a core function of government and should be funded that way.  The criminal justice system should not be reliant on revenue from citations, arrest warrants, or special funds related to sales of marijuana or gambling. 

Marijuana:  WASPC acknowledges that the voters of our state made a specific decision to decriminalize marijuana.  We urge policy makers to support necessary enforcement to reduce “gray market” sales, illicit juvenile consumption, and impacts on neighborhoods from illicit grows and organized crime.  Regulation of marijuana should be based on public safety, not cannabis sales revenue. 


MASS SHOOTINGS WORK GROUP REPORT

Improved training for school resources officers, a mandated multi-stage threat assessment process, better communication about extreme protection orders and more accessible and effective mental health services are a few of the top 25 recommendations of a special Washington Mass Shootings Work Group.  Read the report here.

The 200-page report was finalized and sent to legislators this week by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).  The 2018 legislature tasked WASPC to convene a work group “to develop strategies for identification and intervention against potential perpetrators of mass shootings, with an emphasis on school safety.”

Thirteen representatives of law enforcement, educators, mental health experts, and community groups, met nine times between April and November to craft the recommendations.         

The recommendations were not prioritized by the Work Group, and the Work Group deliberately chose to adopt them without consideration of the possible financial implications to the state, should they be implemented. 


WASPC CONFERENCES

For information about all of WASPC's conferences including registration, program, conference presentation downloads, and lodging information, please click here.  For exhibitor information, please click here. For sponsorship information, please click here. To access the preliminary 2019 spring expo and training conference program, please click here.


Benefits of Membership

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs values: a mission-driven association; quality services; honesty and integrity; accountability and responsibility to our members; diversity; public/private partnerships; competent, professional staff; membership involvement and progressive innovation. WASPC offers four types of membership: life, active, associate, and affiliate. Membership within WASPC offers numerous benefits at all levels.

Click here for more information or join today!

Executive Director Updates

3/15/2019 - Executive Director Update
3/8/2019 - Executive Director Update
3/1/2019 - Executive Director Update
2/19/2019 - Executive Director Update
2/1/2019 - Executive Director Update
1/30/2019 - Executive Director Update on I-940 Amendments