Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs History

The Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS) has been in operation since the 1950s. In its time, WACOPS has been involved in numerous legislative efforts to defeat bills that would take away pension benefits and to support bills that would improve pension benefits for law enforcement officers in the State of Washington.

In the early years, the Council represented law enforcement in the ten First Class cities*. Slowly, but surely, the Council membership increased to having more than 100 member organizations within the Council. Each organization that belongs to the Council has the political ability to influence votes in the Legislature on issues critical to our membership.

Early legislative efforts dealt with improving the benefits for members covered under RCW 41.20, forerunners to the LEOFF 1 system. Some of the many successful efforts to improve the 41.20 system dealt with on-duty disability pension benefits, survivors’ benefits, increasing the retirement amount on 25 years of service, defining rank in civil service law, sick benefits, and many others.

Organizational and leadership history, by the years:

1962: Organization incorporated as the Police Legislative Committee, Inc.

1969: Organization incorporated as Washington State Council of Police Officers in First Class Cities.

1968: Charles Marsh, Tacoma Police, named President.

1971: Lt. Stan May, Yakima Police officers Guild, named President. Charles Marsh named the first Executive Director.

1980: Council of Police Political Support, our political action committee, formed.

1981: Sgt. Dick Chapman, Spokane Police Officers Guild, named President.

1984: Marvin Skeen, Bellevue Police Officers Guild, named President.

1986: Organization incorporated as Washington State Council of Police Officers.

1988: Gary Lentz, Clark County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, named President.

1989: Bob Shilling, Seattle Police Officers Guild, named President.

1990: Mike Patrick, former Seattle Police officer and state legislator, named Executive Director. 

1992: The Council purchased its own building located at 200 Union Avenue S.E. in Olympia and named it the Charles L. Marsh Building (formerly the Mowell House).

1994: James Mattheis, Tacoma Police Officers Union, named President.

1997: Organization incorporated as the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) to recognize that the organization represented both police officers and deputy sheriffs. Public Safety Employees Insurance, Inc., our subsidiary insurance company, incorporated.

1998: WACOPS Scholarship Program established.

2000: Sgt. Mike Amos, Yakima Police, named President. Bill Hanson, former President of the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association, named Executive Director.

2002: Initiative creates LEOFF II Board.

2003: Benevolent Fund established. 

2007: Deb Prather, Everett Police Department, named President. Jamie Daniels named Executive Director.

2008: Mark Lann, Whatcom County Sheriff Deputy, named President.

2010: Dave Hayes, Snohomish County Sheriff Deputy, named President.  The Labor Defense Group (LDG)  was incorporated to represent guilds in contract negotiations and have access to PORAC coverage. 

2013: Craig Bulkley, Spokane Police Department, named President.

2014: Bills passed included exempting employee ID’s from records requests, creating an optional annuity for LEOFF 2 members, modifying arrest without a warrant provisions and enhancing warrant issuance processes.

Bills defeated included attempts to negate police officer arbitration rights, reducing retirement calculation rates, creating a defined contribution retirement system, and requiring public employee collective bargaining negotiations to be open meetings.

2015: Bills passed: First payment into the LEOFF 2 Benefits Improvement account through the state general fund budget, funding for the Internet Crimes Against Children task force and increased funding for the CJTC.

Bills defeated included attempt to increase LEOFF retirement age from 53 to 55, public disclosure of public sector unions’ finances and restricting body camera footage to officer discipline only

2016: Carl Nelson named Executive Director.

2017: WACOPS members testified in favor of a bill passed that provides law enforcement and domestic violence survivors notice of attempts by a convicted abuser to illegally purchase firearms. Teresa Taylor named Executive Director.

2018: PTSD bill (SSB 6214) passes; law enforcement officers have, for the first time, not only the Legislature’s recognition of the existence of PTSD, but that it is a presumed occupational injury.

LEOFF 2 Board bill (ESHB 2701) passes to include within the definition of a combat veteran periods of service that would qualify for a campaign badge or medal; certain specific campaigns within the combat veteran definition; and designates the end of the Persian Gulf War (for purposes of the combat veteran definition) as February 28, 1991 (or November 30, 1995, if a campaign badge or medal was issued for that period).

Brady List bill (SB 6188) passes to ensure officers throughout the state protection from unfair discipline simply for appearing on a prosecutor’s Brady list. This win honors the collective bargaining rights of our members. 







* Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Everett, Yakima, Bremerton, Vancouver, Bellingham, Richland, Aberdeen