LPD responds to 8 Can’t Wait Campaign recommendations - FOX34 Lubbock

LPD responds to 8 Can’t Wait Campaign recommendations

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Speaking generally about the Lubbock Police Department's use of force policies, Chief Floyd Mitchell says Lubbock police are progressive in their approach.

In a response to the 8 Can't Wait Campaign online, the department released a check-list of sorts of how its policies line up. 

8 Can't Wait is a research-backed list of policy priorities activists have encouraged all departments to adopt.

It revolves around deescalation, internal reporting and training officers to not rely on brute force. That includes requiring officers to report unnecessary force from other officers, ban shooting at moving vehicles and requiring intervention.

That means if an officer sees another cop using excessive force, the witness is obligated to stop it. 

"I would dare say one of the things we in law enforcement necessarily haven't gotten right all the time is listening. It's been easy for us to put up that wall and get behind that 'thin blue line' that some people refer to, and just do things the way we think they should be done," Assistant Chief Jon Caspell said. "That uses a lot of mouth, that uses a lot of muscle, and we haven't used our ears enough. Going forward, we think one of the things that really increases transparency, that increases legitimacy, is using our ears a lot more, and that's our pledge to the public."

In its release, Mayor Dan Pope praises the department for its work on community policing strategies.

City Manager Jarrett Atkinson says its transparency is a testament to the department's dedication and to Lubbock itself.

From the Lubbock Police Department:

Due to recent inquiries regarding a campaign called 8 Can’t Wait, the Lubbock Police Department is releasing summarized portions of the department’s Policies and Procedures to provide transparency into use of force policies.

The 8 Can’t Wait campaign has documented eight policy suggestions regarding law enforcement use of force and encouraged individuals to send the recommendations to mayors and police departments across the country. Both Mayor Dan Pope and the Lubbock Police Department have received messages regarding these recommendations.

The Lubbock Police Department reviews the use of force policies yearly, and previously adopted variations of the eight recommendations suggested by the campaign as part of these yearly reviews. The last full review of the use of force policies occurred in November 2019. We are committed to providing transparency into our department, and are releasing our policies regarding the eight recommendation suggestions.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 1. Require officers to report unnecessary force used by fellow police officers.

LPD Policy mandates every officer has a duty to intervene to prevent or stop the use of excessive force by another officer. It also mandates officers immediately call a supervisor to the scene when misconduct is alleged or suspected. The policy further requires uses of force be reported in the Internal Affairs system, and each instance is individually reviewed up the supervisory chain of command (and by Internal Affairs, if necessary) for policy compliance. Lastly, it notes officers will not use unnecessary force against anyone nor intentionally withhold information related to Internal Affairs investigations.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 2. Restrict higher levels of force to be used only in extreme situations.

LPD Policy separates less-lethal force and deadly force. It notes officers will attempt all reasonable means of apprehension and control within their command before resorting to deadly force, so long as doing so does not unreasonably endanger members of the public, themselves, or other officers. In addition, deadly force is only authorized when it is objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances, noting specifically to protect themselves or others from what is reasonably believed to be an immediate risk of death or serious bodily injury.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 3. Ban shooting at moving vehicles (a tactic that has been proven to cause more damage to civilians).

LPD Policy mandates firearms not be discharged at moving vehicles unless authorized by a supervisor. A supervisor shall authorize this to damage radiators or tire walls to stop a pursuit, a person in the vehicle is threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself, or the vehicle is operated in a manner deliberately intended to strike an officer or another person.  On that last point, all other reasonable means of defense must have been exhausted, which includes the officer simply moving out of the path of the vehicle, if possible, in lieu of firing at it.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 4. Require officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force.

LPD Policy mandates every officer has a duty to intervene to prevent or stop the use of excessive force by another officer, and notes the discontinuation of physical force when resistance ceases or the incident is under control. In addition, it mandates officers use only force that is objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control, use force only when no reasonably effective alternative appears to exist, and use only the level of force which a reasonably prudent officer would use under similar circumstances. It specifically notes our department will not tolerate the use of excessive force, and it is the policy of our department to value and preserve human life.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 5. Force officers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before using deadly force.

LPD Policy mandates officers attempt all reasonable means of apprehension and control within their command before resorting to deadly force, so long as doing so does not unreasonably endanger the public, themselves, or other officers.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 6. Require officers to give a verbal warning before shooting.

LPD Policy mandates where feasible, officers identify themselves as peace officers and state their intent to arrest, detain, or search before using any force; and where feasible, shall warn of their intent to use deadly force.

8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 7. Require officers to deescalate situations before they turn extreme/deadly.

LPD Policy mandates officers use de-escalation techniques and other alternatives to higher levels of force whenever possible and appropriate before resorting to force.  De-escalation policy specifies whenever possible, officers shall allow an individual time and opportunity to submit to verbal commands before force is used, so long as a delay will not compromise public or officer safety.

 8 Can’t Wait Recommendation 8. Ban chokeholds and strangleholds.

Policy considers choke holds as deadly force and strictly prohibits them unless deadly force is authorized. It also notes carotid restraints are not considered deadly force when applied correctly; however, because of the potential to cause serious bodily injury or death if misapplied they may only be used as a last resort before resorting to deadly force.

 

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