Police Department announces new policies around the use of force

The Police Department has new policies around the use of force to increase public trust and transparency. The policies:

  1. Sanctity of life: “Sanctity of life and the protection of the public shall be the cornerstones of the Minneapolis Police Department’s use of force policy.” When considering situations where life is threatened or at risk, the Police Department values the preservation of life in the highest regard.
  2. Threatening the use of force and de-escalation: “Whenever reasonable according to the Minneapolis Police Department and training, officers shall use de-escalation tactics to gain voluntary compliance and seek to avoid or minimize use of physical force.” The idea behind this revision is to capture a cultural shift to further encourage officers to slow down situations, when time and circumstances reasonably permit, mitigating the risk of injury for everyone, including members of the public and officers. Officers have been trained to further consider factors that may contribute to a subject’s lack of compliance, which could include but is not exclusive to mental impairment, language barriers, drug and alcohol abuse or a behavioral crisis.
  3. Duty to intervene: “It shall be the duty of every sworn employee present at any scene where physical force is being applied to either stop or attempt to stop another sworn employee when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required.” This policy places responsibility on an officer if he or she observes the inappropriate application of force and does not proactively attempt to stop it.
  4. Professional code of conduct, also known as duty to report: “Employees must immediately, or as soon as reasonably possible, report any misconduct at a scene of an incident to their supervisor or the supervisor at the scene, as well as to the Internal Affairs Unit. This includes, but is not limited to, unreasonable force.” This policy revision reinforces and provides more clarity to the Police Department’s current standards of reporting and it goes as far as including the wording “unreasonable force.”

The new policies are in keeping with the recommendations set forth by The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the 30 Use of Force Guiding Principles developed by the Police Executive Research Forum.

Published Aug 9, 2016

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