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, became President.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1990: Mike Patrick, former Seattle Police officer and state legislator, became 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.

1994: James Mattheis, Tacoma Police Officers Union, became 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, became President. Bill Hanson, former President of the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association, became Executive Director.

2003: Benevolent Fund established. 

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

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

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

2013: Craig Bulkley, Spokane PD, became President.

2016: Carl Nelson became Executive Director.