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Whittier Police Department responds to ‘8 Can’t Wait’ policy proposal

WHITTIER — The Whittier Police Department has responded to “8 Can’t Wait,” a public policy aimed at reducing use-of-force among police officers. 

The policy is supported by Supervisor Janice Hahn, who said “systemic racism, implicit bias, and excessive use of force have resulted in the disproportionate killing of black men and women by police.”

“The people are demanding change,” said Hahn.These are eight steps that can be taken right now by all of our law enforcement departments that are proven effective in reducing the number of people killed by police and sheriff’s deputies.”

The eight policy changes Hahn proposed includes:

  1. Requiring officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force
  2. Restricting, or prohibiting, the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, and carotid restraints
  3. Requiring officers to de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force
  4. Using a Force Continuum or Matrix that defines and limits the types of force that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance
  5. Requiring officers to give a verbal warning before using deadly force
  6. Prohibiting officers from shooting at people in moving vehicles unless the person poses a deadly threat by means other than the vehicle
  7. Requiring officers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to using deadly force
  8. Requiring comprehensive reporting that includes both uses of force and threats of force

 

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On Tuesday, the Whittier Police Department responded to the proposed policy changes:

1.Ban chokeholds
By the order of the governor and a decertification by the state’s Peace Officers Standards and Training agency (POST), policy 300.3.4 CAROTID CONTROL HOLD has been delisted.

2.Require de-escalation.
Whittier Police Department policy expressly requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques when dealing with those in crisis. See policy 418.4, 467.6 and Penal Code Penal Code 835a. In addition, one of our sergeants served as a State of California facilitator, bringing together law enforcement, civil rights advocates, force experts, academia and members of the public in order to develop de-escalation recommendations relating to communication, tactics, training, wellness and mindset.

3. Require warning before shooting
Whittier Police Department policy expressly requires officers to provide verbal warnings when reasonably feasible prior to the use of any deadly force (including shooting). See policy 300.4(b)

4.Exhaust all other means before shooting.
Whittier Police Department policy requires officers to evaluate the use of other reasonably available resources and techniques when determining whether to use deadly force. See policy 300.4

5. Duty to intervene
Whittier Police Department policy expressly requires officers to intervene and stop excessive force if they observe it occurring. Our policy also requires every officer to report any excessive force to a supervisor. See policy 300.2.1

6.Ban shooting at vehicles.
Whittier Police Department policy states that shots fired at a moving vehicle are rarely effective. Officers should move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. It can only be used in extreme circumstances. See policy 300.4.1

7.Require use of force continuum.
Whittier Police Department policy expressly states that Officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose. See policy 300.3

8.Require comprehensive reporting of use of force incidents.
Whittier Police Department policy requires that any use of force by a member of this department shall be documented promptly, completely and accurately in an appropriate report, depending on the nature of the incident. See policy 300.5

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