Commission looks to make changes to police use of force policy in Central Falls

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I (WLNE) – On Monday, Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa, received a list of changes to the police department’s use of force policy from the Central Falls Policing and Use of Force Commission.

The recommendations include banning the use of all chokehold unless lethal force is authorized.

Reported uses of force will now be reviewed with body and dash cam videos to ensure force was necessary.

The Panel is comprised of civil rights activists, city politicians, teachers, students, and members of law enforcement.

Mayor Diossa appointed the committee back in June in response to George Floyd’s death.

The list of recommendations made by the commission is:

  1. Updating Language on De-escalation – Update C(1) from Camden, NJ: “Officers will use de-escalation and force-mitigation tactics and techniques whenever safe and feasible to do so. It
    should be every officer’s goal to resolve all situations without using force. To make this more
    likely, officers must use de-escalation and force-mitigation tactics and techniques whenever doing
    so will not put the officer or another person at undue risk.
  2.  Updating language on the value of human life – Update II (Policy) from Camden, NJ – “The
    primary purpose of this policy is to ensure officers respect the sanctity of life when making
    decisions regarding use of force. In situations where law enforcement officers are justified in
    using force, the utmost restraint should be exercised. Use of force should never be considered
    routine. In exercising this authority, officers must respect the sanctity of all human life, act in all
    possible respects to preserve human life, do everything possible to avoid unnecessary uses of
    force, and minimize the force that is used, while still protecting themselves and the public.”

    3. Language clarifying Use of Force continuum – Update (E)(1)(a) from Camden – “This
    Department trains officers on the following range of force options. The force options available to
    an officer fall along a continuum. Officers are not required to exhaust one type of force before
    moving to a greater force. Sound judgment and the appropriate exercise of discretion will always
    be the foundation of officer decision making in the broad range of possible use of force situations.
    This Department trains its officers on the following force options, from least to greatest force: a.
    Police Presence (least) b. Verbal Control Techniques c. Physical Contact d. Holding Techniques
    e. Compliance Techniques f. Control Instruments g. Physical Force h. Impact Weapons i. Canine
    Apprehension j. Conducted Energy Devices k. Deadly Force (greatest).

    4. Requiring Annual Training – Making in-person, use of force training annual and focusing on
    reality-based training by changing to “annually” in E(2)(a).

    5. Language incorporating Mental Health policies into Use of Force policy, including Excited
    Delirium by inserting links to the Policy on Individuals with mental illness (220.20) and the
    Policy on Excited Delirium (220.29) in a newly created section (4) on page 4.

    6. Update Chokeholds language in E(1)(b) to be consistent with the city’s Racial Justice
    Ordinance by stating that all chokeholds are prohibited unless lethal force is authorized.

    7. Language supporting research and development for both Body and Dash Cameras by
    adding (f) on page 8: “When body and dash cameras are adopted by the city, all reported uses of
    force will require a review of an officer’s body-worn camera footage or dash camera footage to
    ensure the force was necessary, proportionate, and reasonable.”

    8. Reform No Knock Warrants by requiring detectives to have affidavit reviewed by a member of
    the Attorney General’s Office prior to applying for warrant in the Vice, Narcotics and Organized
    Crime Policy.

    9. Duty to Intervene. All officers present and observing another officer using force that is clearly
    beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances, shall intercede to prevent
    the use of such force when in a position to do so safely. Officers shall report these observations to
    a non-involved supervisor without unnecessary delay, which should never exceed the end of the
    shift, unless circumstances beyond the officer’s control prohibit it.

    10. Shooting at a moving vehicle. Discharging a firearm at a moving vehicle shall be avoided
    unless a person in the vehicle poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the
    officer or another person. Officers shall avoid intentionally placing themselves in a position
    where a vehicle may be used against them. Escape from the path of an oncoming vehicle should
    be considered prior to, or in lieu of, the implementation of lethal force whenever escape is
    possible. However, whenever a situation exists where an officer must consider discharging a
    firearm at a moving vehicle in order to stop an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury
    to himself/herself or others, the use of lethal force by the officer must not constitute a greater
    hazard to the public than does the imminent threat, and must be the most reasonable course of
    action under the circumstances. Officers must weigh the need to use lethal force against the
    potential harm to innocent bystanders caused by such use.

    11. Updating Use of Force Reporting – Officer will ensure notification is made prior to end of shift
    unless extenuating circumstances beyond the officers control exist.

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