Who We Are

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.

 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

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