The Denver Police Department is rewriting its use-of-force policy to align it with the community’s changing expectations for how officers handle volatile situations and to reflect progressive policies recommended by national policing experts.
The new policy will shift the department’s focus from telling officers what is legally allowed when using force against citizens to one that encourages officers to use the minimum amount of force necessary. It also will provide specific scenarios and a decisionmaking model to guide officers on how they should react to those situations, Chief Robert White told The Denver Post during an interview Wednesday.
“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary,” White said. “That’s where we are going.”
Across the nation, police departments and their officers are under scrutiny when it comes to shooting suspects and even when deciding to use stun guns or to punch and kick people. Demands for change have followed a series of high-profile police killings of unarmed minorities in Ferguson, Mo., Charleston, S.C., a Minneapolis suburb and elsewhere.
As a response to eroding trust between police and their communities, policing experts have recommended law enforcement agencies periodically review their policies and change use-of-force policies to honor the sanctity of life and to emphasize de-escalation.
Read more from our partners at The Denver Post.