CARLSBAD — Law enforcement agencies throughout the region, state and country are rapidly changing procedures in response to the mass protests against police brutality and violence after the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
In North County, the Carlsbad Police Department adopted all eight policies recommended by Campaign Zero’s Eight Can’t Wait initiative on June 4, which is part of a national movement to the prevent excessive use of force by police, according to a city press release.
The eight policies include requiring de-escalation tactics, issuing a warning before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, banning shooting at moving vehicles, restricting severe types of force to extreme situations, comprehensive reporting and requiring officers to intervene and stop excessive force.
According to Campaign Zero, these policies can decrease police violence by 72%.
On June 3, prior to CPD’s adoption of these measures, the department also banned the use of “carotid control holds,” or chokeholds.
Campaign Zero previously gave the CPD its highest ranking among the 100 largest police departments in California.
“We understand the importance of the #8cantwait campaign,” CPD Assistant Chief Mickey Williams said in a statement. “As one community, we are all responsible for the reduction of violence.”
During this time of civil unrest, it is important to also report when police agencies are working hard toward change and the reduction of violence. This is why we felt now was a good time to report that we have policies in place that address all eight components of the #8cantwait campaign.”
For CPD officers, learning de-escalation techniques includes significant training in emotional intelligence and crisis intervention.
The department’s policy also requires officers to provide verbal warnings, when reasonable, prior to using deadly force, including against persons involved in an unlawful assembly.
According to CPD, an officer may use deadly force to protect another officer or another from a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury; or to stop a suspect from fleeing if the officer believes the suspect has committed, or intends to commit, a felony causing serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes there is an imminent risk.
All incidents involving excessive force must be reported to a supervisor.
Additionally, officers cannot shoot at a vehicle unless an officer believes there is no alternative to stop the threat. However, officers are required to move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants and cannot shoot at any part of a vehicle to disable it.
“Further, many of these policies are not new and have been in place for quite some time,” Williams said. “Police policy and procedures are a living document and regularly change with the times. We are dedicated to the continual analysis of our polices to ensure they align with community needs. Also, to be transparent and in conjunction with state mandates, all our policies, procedures and training can be found on our website. We would like to thank the community for their ongoing support and collaboration toward safe, and effective community policing.”