Uses of Force: A Much-Needed Discussion

It’s about time cops sit down with each other and start a serious discussion about reducing the uses of deadly force– and proposing some less-than-deadly alternatives. The next step is to thoroughly discuss the findings with community leaders.

My sense is that communities throughout America are expecting their police to respond to the crisis in confidence that Ferguson generated. This pertains especially to communities of color!

Kudos for PERF and the LAPD to join in this effort as they proposed the following:

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“This situation is familiar to most police officers.

“An unarmed individual, possibly in a mental health crisis or under the influence of narcotics, wanders into a busy street, disrupting traffic and endangering himself and others. Responding officers attempt to communicate with the subject, but he is not responsive and continues to move in and out of traffic. Going “hands on” with the subject might be too problematic, and use of a less-lethal device may be ineffective. In situations like this, officers often face a gap in the tools and tactics that are readily available to them.

“The PERF-LAPD conference will dissect challenging situations like this one and examine key questions such as:

  • What tools and tactics are agencies currently using, and how successful are they?
  • In an ideal world, what types of innovative, perhaps never-before-developed tools and tactics would help patrol officers safely and effectively resolve these situations?
  • In those instances in which an electronic control weapon (ECW) or other less-lethal tool is deployed but is not successful, how can an officer successfully transition to “Plan B?”
  • What devices or technology that are not intermediate force options (e.g. ECW, Baton, OC Spray, etc.) could work for a person who is non-compliant and not violent?
  • What are the policy considerations and evolving case law that govern the use of ECWs and other less-lethal tools in these types of encounters?

“This unique national conference will explore what leading police agencies are already doing with respect to use-of-force tools, tactics and training, including PERF’s ICAT (Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics) curriculum. In addition, the conference will challenge participants to consider what may be possible in the future and brainstorm new ideas and approaches.

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