Latest in a series of posts about the Bethlehem Police
There’s a Public Safety Committee meeting on the horizon. Date unspecified.
In preparation for which, the Police Department was asked to submit its use of force directives.
If “we” informed citizens want to make the most out of this meeting, we need to look at those directives and start to form our comments and questions. Which we might want to pass on to City Council.
Gadfly always recommends going to the primary source. Here linked above is the use of force directive.
Gadfly has just spent the last hour or so going through the directive, has copied out below some sections that stood out to him, and has begun to form some questions.
He invites you to do the same.
The purpose of any use of force by a police officer shall be to establish control and/or maintain a level of advantage to defend himself or another person from bodily harm.
Department law enforcement officers shall only use reasonable force.
The level of force used by an officer will be determined by the subject’s actions.
Each use of force situation is unique,
An officer may use deadly force when the officer reasonably believes such action is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.
By law and officer need not retreat in efforts to lawfully control a subject.
An officer may use deadly force to prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect
- whom the officer has probable cause to believe has committed an offense in which the suspect caused or attempted to cause death or serious bodily injury; and
- who will pose an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury should the escape succeed; and
- when the use of deadly risk presents no substantial risk of injury to innocent persons.
An officer shall not resort to the use of deadly force if the officer reasonably believes that an alternative to the use of deadly force will avert an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, and achieve the law enforcement purpose at no increased risk to the officer or another person.
Officers shall not use deadly force to subdue persons whose actions are only destructive to property.
Department members shall not use chokeholds or strangulation techniques as a means of control except as a last resort in a life and death struggle.
Officers and employees shall be responsible for reporting witnessed violations of the Department’s Use of Force policies.
When practical, officers shall intervene through verbal or physical means to prevent physical harm to the subject as a result of the misapplication of force.
Officers shall receive annual training in the Department’s Use of Force directives.
Officers shall receive annual training in weaponless control techniques.