Information Regarding Policies recommended by the 8 Can’t Wait, Campaign Zero
#1 - Policy recommendation - BAN CHOKEHOLDS & STRANGLEHOLDS:
Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead, results in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians.
On June 26, 2020 BPD announced that it is is suspending the use a vascular neck restraint technique called a Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint (LVNR). There have never been any deaths or serious injuries associated with BPD’s use of the LVNR technique, and it is not a “chokehold,” as it is not intended or designed to obstruct a subject’s airway, but based on a number of factors, including community input, we have decided to discontinue its use at this time. This moratorium will allow BPD to explore options, retrain as necessary, and update our policy.
#2. Policy recommendation - REQUIRE DE-ESCALATION:
Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.
Boise Police Officers receive de-escalation training regularly throughout their careers. The training is continually reviewed and updated. BPD policy requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques during all possible use of force scenarios. Examples of de-escalation techniques include but are not limited to:
- Utilizing verbal skills and providing a warning prior to the use of force
- Determining whether the officer may be able to stabilize the situation through the use of time, distance, or positioning to isolate and contain a subject
- Request for additional personnel to respond or make use of units with specialized training or equipment and alternate resources including Crisis-Intervention Team (CIT) trained officers, Crisis Negotiators and Special Operations Unit members.
(See page 20 of BPD Policy 1.001 Use of Force/Authorization)
#3. Policy recommendation - REQUIRE WARNING BEFORE SHOOTING:
Require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian.
Officers are required, when possible, to use de-escalation techniques during all possible use of force scenarios. This includes providing a verbal warning prior to the use of force. (See page 20 of BPD Policy 1.001 Use of Force/Authorization)
#4. Policy recommendation - REQUIREMENT TO EXHAUST ALL ALTERNATIVES BEFORE SHOOTING:
Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.
A police officer shall never employ unnecessary force or violence and shall use only such force in the discharge of duty as is objectively reasonable in all circumstances. The decision to use force should be based on the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others, and whether the suspect is
actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. While the use of force is occasionally unavoidable, every police officer shall refrain from unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and shall never engage in cruel, degrading, or inhumane treatment of any person. (See page 20 of BPD Policy 1.002 Use of Force Application)
#5. Policy recommendation - DUTY TO INTERVENE:
Require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.
Officers are taught ethical intervention in our de-escalation and implicit bias Training. BPD policy also states that an employee shall report to their supervisor any information coming to their attention tending to indicate any employee has violated a law, rule, regulation, or order. (See page 74 of BPD Policy 11.037 Duty to Report Information)
#6. Policy recommendation - BAN SHOOTING AT MOVING VEHICLES:
Restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.
An officer shall not discharge a firearm at a vehicle or its occupants in response to a threat posed solely by the vehicle, except under certain extreme circumstances. (See page 21 of BPD Policy 1.004 Use of Firearms From and At a Moving Vehicle)
#7. Policy recommendation - REQUIRE USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM:
Develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.
While the reasoning behind this recommendation is well-intentioned, the concept of a Use of Force Continuum is somewhat antiquated in modern policing. In our use of force procedures, the department outlines the criteria for any use of force as well as officer and supervisor responsibilities.
BPD has moved away from a set “use of force continuum” many years ago, instead opting for a policy requiring the “appropriate” level of force be used in any given situation. For example, if a person threatens or is shooting at another person or officer with a firearm, officers are not required to use a taser or pepper spray before they can use deadly force, as those force options would be highly unlikely to stop the threat, and lives could be lost in the time taken to exhaust those other options before using deadly force. Boise Police officers are trained to match the level of force presented and use the least amount and/or most appropriate level of force necessary to protect citizens and themselves.
#8. Policy recommendation - REQUIRE COMPREHENSIVE REPORTING:
Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.
All uses of force are required to be documented in a departmental report. Any use of force more than soft empty hand techniques requires notification to a supervisor and documentation of an Administration Use of Force Review. Threats of force are not addressed in policy. (See page 128 of BPD Procedure P-1.001 Authorization)