When the Police Use Force

Last year EPD officers contacted citizens more than 74,139 times. From traffic stops to arrests, or others crying for help. Some people were drunk and belligerent, others high and in a psychotic state, some were paranoid and delusional.  Most were cooperative. That is more than 200 recorded contacts each day.

Of the 922 custodial arrests EPD made from October 1, to December 31, 2015, EPD used force 68 times or in 7% of arrests.  Of those uses of force, 34 were pain compliance such as a wrist lock.  11 were pushes or people taken down to the ground during an arrest. This often happens during foot pursuits. A Taser was used once and firearms were displayed 8 times, such as felony “hot stops”, or people armed with weapons.  During these arrests the person was injured with an abrasion 14 times and complained of pain 6 times.  There were no serious injuries.

Here is an infograph put out by the Police Foundation in Washington DC about police use of force. Police Use of Force Graph  Also, attached is a document the local Chief’s of Police will examine at a future meeting. It is published by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and will be distributed to all of EPD this next week. 30 Guiding Principles on Police Use of Force

EPD views the use of force as something that should happen only when necessary.  EPD has shown amazing restraint in many situations where high levels of force could be used, but they chose to use words or less lethal means instead.  From a guy trying kill himself with a 30-30 rifle last week, to a crazed, meth fueled guy waving a knife around in a store, threatening patrons.

EPD, along with our local partners, have designed de-escalation training that will begin this spring.  Unfortunately, these young men and women will have to continue to encounter dangerous, deranged and uncooperative people who think little of using force on them.


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