Denver, Colorado Police Department – changing use force policy
In a move that I don’t often make, I am going to praise the efforts of the Denver, Colorado Police Department, in fact, I commend them for taking this very huge step forward.
They announced this week that they plan to rewrite the department’s use of force policy. I’ve said this so many times before, in all reality police departments across the US don’t really need the DOJ to step in and fix everything if a police department is willing and ready for change.
As it turns out, one of the departments that I often praise has paid attention to what has been happening with other police departments across the nation and has taken it upon themselves to change the way they react.
Instead of telling officers what is legally allowed in terms of using force, they will now be encouraged and allowed to use the minimum amount of force necessary.
That translates to not shooting first and asking questions later, which DPD never really had an issue with but why wait until one surfaces?
They will be provided special training and models to help guide them on how to better react to different situations, according to DPD Chief Robert White.
“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary that’s where we are going.”
What citizens don’t often see or realize is that some police departments across the country have been watching the violence, the actions of both officers and citizens and they have listened to how citizens feel and they are now taking steps to change different aspects of policing.
That’s pretty important.
The Denver police department has already included a section to its operations manual that requires officers to de-escalate situations when reasonable and of course practical.
They included a section that says that officers now have a duty to render aid after they have shot a suspect or if they used physical force on a suspect if the situation is deemed safe to do so.
Chief White has also vowed to listen to input and idea’s which shows. What’s more is that the department did not take this process lightly. They consulted with something like 14 other departments, some of which were, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City, Mo, a board of directors.
They even looked at input from from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Police Executive Research Forum.
The Denver Police Department is proving that they can lead by example. They watch, listen and actually choose to hear what is said by citizens, not just in Denver but nationwide and step forward to make the changes that are needed.
I commend them for the dedication they have for the community that they serve.
Success is not about being the best. It’s about always getting better.
Clearly the Denver Police Department gets that.
Cristal M Clark
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