OLYMPIA – Legislation passed in the House yesterday would enable Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients to serve in Washington’s civil services and law enforcement agencies. SB 6157 would permit the nearly 15,000 eligible DACA recipients in Washington state to apply for positions with sheriff’s offices, fire departments, police, and fish and wildlife officer positions.

“This is a simple but significant piece of legislation brought to me by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs,” said prime sponsor Sen. John Lovick (D-Everett). “These DACA recipients were raised in our communities. We should allow them to serve the places they know and love.”

The legislation would require that law enforcement agencies employing a lawful permanent resident or DACA recipient develop a firearms policy that authorizes the possession and carry of firearms by those officers, but it would not add any additional training or hiring requirements.

“Our law enforcement agencies need recruits, and there are many DACA recipients eager to serve and protect their communities,” said Lovick. “Alongside our new Regional Training Academies, this is a big step forward towards the recruitment of more diverse, representative law enforcement officers. I believe that these DACA recipients can help change the culture of policing. I’m thrilled to see this bill pass.”

Having been amended in the House of Representatives, the bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence.