John Malik
opinion

Police Departments with 'Use of Force' Policies Save Lives

Police Departments with 'Use of Force' Policies Save Lives
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There is a large and growing volume of evidence showing that police officers have used excessive force in circumstances where it was not necessary. Meanwhile, there are a number of local police departments who have implemented 'Use of Force' policies, effectively reducing the number of injuries and fatalities for both citizens and police officers.
In the last 5 years, police officers have killed 3,400 citizens who were not fleeing from them.
The Washington Post has been compiling a database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since January 1, 2015. The open-source database on Github tracks the following data: race of the deceased, the circumstances of the shooting, whether the person was armed and whether the victim was experiencing a mental-health crisis, and more than a dozen additional details. One metric is whether the person killed was fleeing from police officers. In 3,400 out of 5,400 instances (63%), the person killed was not fleeing.
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This systemic aggressiveness has also resulted in the deaths of 971 police officers over the same time period.
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It's creating civil unrest.
There is a Twitter thread compiled by Greg Douchette with nearly 500 videos sourced from police body cameras and citizen recordings. It shows ongoing excessive use of force by police officers, which further inflames civil unrest in peaceful communities across the United States.
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Use of Force Policies have reduced fatalities.
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Police departments with more restrictions reduce citizen fatalities.
The Use of Force Policy Analysis report describes their findings in more detail. "In theory, police departments establish rules regarding the use of force, which include the expectation and power to discipline officers who fail to uphold the department’s standards. Instead, many police departments fail to establish common-sense restrictions on police use of force – including deadly force – that would actually benefit the communities they are supposed to protect and serve. According to our findings, fundamentally changing use of force polices can dramatically reduce the number of people killed by police in America."
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They've also reduced the number of police officers killed during the line of duty.
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opinion
Less than 1% of law enforcement agencies in America have these policies.
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There are about 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States.
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Of these, only about 100 police departments have Use of Force policies in place.
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We need more police departments to implement Use of Force policies. At a minimum, these should require comprehensive reporting, banning chokeholds, and officers to exhaust all other means before shooting.
Editor