Editor's Note: The following was a press release distributed Friday by the Washington House Republicans.
House Bill 1047, a measure to give an additional tool to help law enforcement solve violent crimes, passed the House with a vote of 78-18 Friday. Rep. Cathy Dahlquist authored the bill at the request of King County prosecutors who are frustrated by several unsolved crimes, including a recent drive-by shooting in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.
If passed, House Bill 1047 would give law enforcement authorities access to license plate numbers snapped by traffic cameras. In order to obtain the footage, law enforcement would have to go before a judge and justify the need for a search warrant within 30 days of the incident being investigated. Current law only allows for the use of traffic camera images as part of photo enforcement of traffic infractions.
“This bill was brought to me because a life was lost. A random drive-by shooting took the life of a young woman in Seattle and a car was seen speeding away, which raised the possibility that a red light camera may have captured a photo of the license plate on the car,” explained Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw. “The ability to use the photos and video footage could help solve deadly crimes like these. The goal is to bring peace to the families of those affected by violent crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice to receive the punishment they deserve.”
The high bar set in the bill for law enforcement to prove it needs access to the footage for an active criminal investigation is something that Dahlquist said was necessary to reassure citizens their rights were adequately protected.
House Bill 1047 will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration.
For more information, visit our Web site at: www.houserepublicans.wa.gov.