Safe Communities


Part of our role as public servants is to keep Washingtonians safe. Our state already leads the nation in innovative and effective criminal and juvenile justice policy, but we work hard to continue to improve public safety in our communities while also ensuring that we have a fair and equitable system of justice.

Current Work

  • Results Washington. Gov. Inslee’s goal for decreasing violent infractions in prison met its 2017 target.
  • Safe implementation of I-502. Gov. Inslee is working with state agencies to educate the public about marijuana and most importantly, encourage parents to talk with their kids about making healthy choices. 
  • Emergency preparedness. Gov. Inslee is taking steps to protect lives and help communities in the aftermath of a large-scale earthquake or tsunami. Washington's proximity to the Cascadia Subduction Zone — a major fault line off the Pacific Coast of North America — puts the region at significant risk for major earthquakes and tsunamis. The Resilient Washington Subcabinet convenes regularly to better prepare our state for earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, drought, storms and flooding.
  • Reducing gun violence. Thousands of families across Washington have experienced the tragedy of gun violence. Gov. Inslee is working to pass additional common sense, gun control measures to keep our schools and communities safe, and to keep firearms away from people experiencing a mental health crisis. 
  • Protecting immigrant and refugee families. Gov. Inslee is standing up against the Trump administration’s discriminatory and cruel immigration policies, pledging that Washington will remain a state that welcomes people of all faiths, nationalities and orientations.

Key Successes

2018
  • Firearm regulations. Gov. Inslee championed and signed SB 5992. The bill bans “bump stock” devices, which enable a firearm to shoot multiple rounds when holding down the trigger. The governor also signed SB 5553, which allows a person experiencing a mental health crisis to waive their firearm rights; SB 6298, which adds domestic violence harassment to the list of crimes that prevent someone from possessing a firearm; and HB 2519, which reforms rules for concealed pistol licenses.
  • Juvenile justice. Gov. Inslee supported SB 6160, which helps reduce the number of youth who are charged and tried as adults. Sending minors to adult prisons often leads to worse outcomes than keeping those young people in the juvenile justice system.
2017
  • Summit on gang prevention. Gov. Inslee hosted a statewide summit on gang prevention and intervention in Yakima, convening experts from the state and the nation to discuss ways to reduce violent gang activity.
  • Notification of failed background checks. Under legislation passed in 2017, firearms dealers are required to notify law enforcement when a customer who is trying to purchase or transfer a firearm fails the background check. The bill, HB 1501, also allows a person to be notified when the subject of their protection order tries to purchase a gun.
  • Safer roads. The governor signed legislation that cracks down on distracted driving. The measure, SB 5289, makes any use of a mobile phone while driving a primary offense. He also signed SB 5037, making a person’s fourth driving-under-the-influence offense a felony rather than a gross misdemeanor.
2016
  • Reduce firearm fatalities and suicides. In January 2016, Gov. Inslee announced an executive order launching a statewide public health initiative to reduce and prevent gun-related fatalities and injuries. The order also implemented the Statewide Suicide Prevention Plan. 
  • Safe and strong communities through successful reentry. Gov. Inslee issued an executive order that removes barriers for people reentering society after a term of incarceration to better help them become working, contributing members of society. Successful reentry helps reduce recidivism and improve community safety.
2015
  • Crisis Intervention. Gov. Inslee championed SB 5311, legislation that ensures police officers get crisis intervention and de-escalation training.
  • Medical marijuana. Gov. Inslee worked with legislators to pass SB 5052 which regulates medical marijuana, ensures a safe product and keeps marijuana out of the hands of kids. This was an important, related part of the governor’s efforts to implement I-502 and create a system that works for patients. 
  • Sexual assault. The governor’s office helped pass HB 1068, legislation that helps identify perpetrators of sexual assault by creating a process to catalog and test thousands of untested rape kits in our state. 
2014
  • SR 530 slide response. Gov. Inslee and Snohomish County Executive Lovick formed a joint commission in response to the SR 530 landslide of March 2014. The commission’s recommendations were the basis of policy changes and legislation to improve preparation and response to similar events in the future. Gov. Inslee led numerous other efforts to help the community recover and rebuild.
  • Death penalty moratorium. In February 2014, Gov. Inslee announced a moratorium on capital punishment in Washington. This action does not commute the sentences of those on death row or issue any pardons, but allows for a debate on the merits of the continued application of capital punishment in this state.
  • Justice Reinvestment Initiative. As part of Washington’s commitment to continuous improvement in state government, Gov. Inslee, with the support of bipartisan legislative leadership and the courts, convened the Justice Reinvestment Task Force. The task force analyzed current criminal justice trends in Washington and examined ways to reduce crime and recidivism, effectively leveraging our public safety dollars and increasing public safety in our communities.
  • Marijuana regulation. In 2014, the state implemented a three-tier regulatory system for the legal production, processing and sale of marijuana. This structure includes extensive requirements which ensure that safe and tested products are available for responsible adult consumption while providing safeguards to minimize youth access and accidental ingestion.
2013
  • Stronger DUI laws. The governor worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to enact strong new DUI laws with a focus on repeat offenders. (SB 5912)

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