Any time there is some type of high-profile case, department use of force policies can be called into question. While reviewing all of our policies on a regular basis make good sense, politically-sensitive law enforcement administrators making changes in a knee-jerk fashion is often done without regard to the realities of the street. In other words, bad press can lead to bad policies.
Take, for example, recent changes in the use of force policy at Las Vegas Metro PD.
According to the news reports, the LVMPD updated their use of force policies in response to public pressure after a number of officer involved shootings.
Did the policies need updating? Maybe, maybe not. But were they made in response to a media-fueled furor? It certainly looks like it. When the motivation is to please the media, the changes become suspect.
According to KLAS-TV, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate, officers are now trained to use “minimal force,” and to “…issue more warnings before a situation becomes dangerous.” Something else that bothers me is the reporter’s statement that “In the past, an officer could use force if a person was making verbal threats…”
This suggests the new policy does not allow an officer to take action if a subject is threatening an officer. LVMPD officers are just supposed to keep giving them warnings. Isn’t this the kind of thinking that got Deputy Kyle Dinkheller killed?
If someone threatens you, you better take them G*****n seriously!
Feel free to read the full story and watch the video clip at KLAS-TV’s site. If some of my LVMP readers want to send me an e-mail or leave a comment on the new policy below, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts. Did the media get the story right, or are their reporting on the changes inaccurate?