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News & Announcements

June 8, 2020
Santa Fe: Review Use Of Force Policies

“8 Can’t Wait” List Of Policies

Both former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and President Barack Obama have called for mayors to review the Use of Force policies that guide their city’s police departments. In the case of Secretary Castro, the agenda comprises a lengthy list of policies, procedures and practices. President Obama’s list consists of eight very specific policies concerning the use of force.

Here is the essence of the SFPD policies on the Use of Force and directions to SFPD officers:

          Lethal force is only to be used in defense of your life or the life of another if they are facing an immediate threat of being killed or seriously injured. Any force that is used by an officer must be in proportion to the threat.

With regard to the SFPD Use of Force policies, here are the answers provided by Chief Padilla and Deputy Chief Valdez with regard to the “8 Can’t Wait” list of policies:

 

  1. Ban Chokeholds and Strangleholds: Chokeholds or any kind of throat or neck restraint are not permitted for custody and control while an officer is making an arrest.
  2. Duty to Intervene: Officers have an affirmative duty to intervene where they witness another officer using excessive or unreasonable force in any situation.
  3. Require De-Escalation: Officers are trained in crisis intervention and directed to use de-escalation techniques.
  4. Require Warning Before Shooting: Officers are required to provide verbal warnings prior to using deadly force, unless doing so would endanger themselves or other innocent bystanders.
  5. Requires Exhaust All Alternatives Before Shooting: Officers are trained to use the lowest amount of force possible to resolve any and all situations.
  6. Requires Use of Force Continuum: Officers are instructed to evaluate an array of reasonable options and to use the option that will cause the least injury while resolving a situation.
  7. Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles: Officers are directed not to shoot at moving vehicles. The exceptions are where the occupant of the vehicle is intentionally driving the vehicle into the officer or an innocent bystander, or using some other form of lethal force and no other reasonable alternative is available.
  8. Require Comprehensive Reporting: Officers wear body-worn cameras and are required to follow comprehensive reporting guidelines whenever there is an incident.

Over the last six years the Santa Fe Police Department has undergone training on cultural competency and community equity; hate crime training; transgender awareness training; and training to recognize and combat implicit bias. Starting again this month, all officers will undertake another program of training to identify implicit bias, practice equity and inclusion, and practice community sensitivity.

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