Teresa Fuller, Public Information Officer, No Phone Number Available
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 11:32 a.m.
The Spokane Police Department is pleased to announce recommendation 6.5 from the DOJ, regarding use of force (UOF), has been completed. After reviewing previous policy, SPD admin and academy staff determined it was necessary to make changes, even above and beyond what DOJ recommended, in order to track uses of force in a comprehensive and transparent manner.
Several additions have been made to SPD's Use of Force Policy. These include more definitions for terms officers use when reporting UOF, additional circumstances where a UOF is reportable, and the recommendation that officers document any de-escalation techniques they attempted to utilize during a UOF encounter.
Every year, SPD provides a Use of Force Analysis to the public. People will notice that, after the updates, Use of Force incidents may appear to go up substantially in future reports. That is not because incidents are increasing, necessarily, but because SPD's new policy incorporates broader definitions for Use of Force incidents that can be put under review. Incidents that were not reviewed under Use of Force previously will all be reviewed now, so yearly report numbers will reflect that change.
An example of this can be seen with SPD's use of lateral neck restraints. There are two levels: Level 1, in which officers do not employ techniques which would render a person unconscious; and Level 2, in which officers can use a technique to make the person lose consciousness. Previously, only Level 2 incidents would be put under review. Now, Level 1 will also be reviewable use of force.
We believe the updates to the Use of Force Policy are very thorough. The Spokane Police Department is committed to honoring people's rights and keeping the public's trust in law enforcement through sound use of force decisions. To learn more about the changes, click on the policy documents below.