Denver

Denver Police Will Have a New Use of Force Policy

The "minimum amount of force necessary" will be encouraged.

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Verbal judo is the game
Flickr/Jeffrey Beall

The Denver Police Department is currently in the midst of a long but carefully considered process as it rewrites its use of force policy. Of particular note is the new emphasis on the "minimum amount of force necessary," rather than the current norm of placing limits on the most extreme measures police officers feel they need to take during a confrontation.

The Denver PD's chief, Robert White, told the Denver Post that officers will be trained on how to keep their cool during specific high-risk scenarios they may encounter. Of the department's evolving policy, White said to the Post, "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."

Chief White says he expects some resistance from the rank-and-file over the new policy, which puts more strict limits on the use of force than required by the state and the federal government. But White insists that the changes to policy, which also now include a "duty to render aid" on someone who has been on the receiving end of police use of force, are necessary for maintaining the department's integrity and community trust.

Denver's Sheriff's Department announced earlier this year that it would also be reforming its use of force policy, which now encourages deputies to deploy "verbal judo" to de-escalate potentially volatile situations. The Sheriff's Department's new policy also requires deputies to intervene if they witness a misuse of force, and to not restrict detainees' breathing with their body weight during an arrest.

Though the Denver PD reportedly consulted with 14 other police departments and considered the recommendations put forth by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, some groups—such as the city's Citizen Oversight Board—do not appreciate that the new policy is being written internally by the police department. White insists that the current draft is only that, a draft, and that it will be made public to allow concerns from the community to be considered before the final policy becomes official.

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  1. If it ain’t fucking “REQUIRED” with penalties for breaking the requirements, then the new policy means jack shit.

    1. ^ Exactly this

  2. The Sheriff’s Department’s new policy also requires deputies to intervene if they witness a misuse of force…

    That goes against the core of what it means to be a police officer. You do whatever you want because no one will stop you. You look the other way or join in when force is misused.

    So you can bet that that policy will never be followed at all. It is the opposite of what it means to be a cop.

  3. The draft sounds promising. It will be interesting to see what the level of gutting involved is.

    I can’t wait to hear the “All our police are going to die if they can’t use excessive force!” people bitch and complain.

  4. But White insists that the changes to policy, which also now include a “duty to render aid” on someone who has been on the receiving end of police use of force, are necessary for maintaining the department’s integrity and community trust.

    That alone is a great start.

    1. And sure to be ignored.

      1. Not ignored. But I’m sure the duty to render aid will not apply if doing so compromises officer safety.

        1. Sounds like a way to also get shot.

  5. Can’t wait for the local cop union to demand a huge raise in order to accept any change in policy.

    1. It’s like you have a crystal ball or something.

  6. Though the Denver PD reportedly consulted with 14 other police departments and considered the recommendations put forth by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, some groups?such as the city’s Citizen Oversight Board?do not appreciate that the new policy is being written internally by the police department.

    The Citizen Board Oversight, not the Citizen Oversight Board! a la John Cleese

    1. Splitter !

  7. which now encourages deputies to deploy “verbal judo” to de-escalate potentially volatile situations.

    + 1 Judo Chop

  8. The Denver PD’s chief, Robert White, told the Denver Post that officers will be trained on how to keep their cool during specific high-risk scenarios they may encounter.

    So they weren’t being trained to deescalate situations before or they were trained to assert total control no matter what? This is built into the culture of a place. These are the unwritten but spoken rules drummed into the heads of new officers. “Take control. Don’t take shit. We’ll have your back if anything goes bad.” They’re going to need a different class of supervisor, if not of supervised.

    1. In the olden days, some newspaper would have sent one of their reporters into apply for police academy and then write an expose of what really went on in training.

  9. It will still be OK to kick people in the face after they are on the ground, right ?

    1. Depends on how highly decorated you are.

      1. You don’t get medals without kicking people in the face.

  10. Shoot them less… like only one or two times instead of the whole magazine?

  11. Not a joke that police should be more trained in submission techniques. You don’t have to really hurt someone to get them under control. Not always, I get that. But then you can hurt them without killing them. Yes it takes work and practice. But it is THE JOB!

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