USE OF FORCE
USE OF FORCE
In performance of their duty, police officers are at times confronted with situations where, in order to protect the public safety, control must be exercised to effect arrests, overcome active physical resistance, and neutralize assaults. Control may be achieved through verbal discussion, persuasion and warnings, or by the use of physical force. Obviously, there are varying degrees of force that may be justified, depending upon the dynamics of the situations. In order to provide officers of the East Hempfield Township Police Department with a clear understanding of their performance expectations while effecting any Use of Force, policy was established. Our policy also details departmentally authorized weapons, training in their use, and reporting requirements when the Use of Force is asserted.
The East Hempfield Township Police Department meets or exceeds Pennsylvania and Federal requirements and recommendations related to policies on the use of force by police officers.The agency has been certified by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission as meeting eligibility requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice. This certification confirms that the agency maintains use of force policies that adhere to all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Additionally, the agency maintains use of force policies that prohibit the use of choke holds, except in situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law. The following safe policing principles are incorporated into our policies and procedures:
Use of Force and De-escalation Techniques
Termination of Use of Force
The agency maintains use of force policies and procedures that address when force against individuals who fail to comply with lawful commands should terminate, including the following requirement: when it is objectively reasonable that a subject is fully in law enforcement’s control, then the force must terminate.
Duty to Intervene
The agency maintains policies and procedures that include the duty and obligation to intervene to prevent or stop the known and apparent use of excessive force by another officer when it is objectively reasonable to do so.
Training Protocols on Use of Force and De-Escalation
The agency maintains training protocols that adhere to, or exceed, any applicable state laws to become, and remain in good standing as, law enforcement officers. The agency’s training protocols include instruction on the agency’s use of force policies and procedures, de-escalation techniques, and related legal updates.
Appropriate Medical Care
The agency maintains policies and procedures that address when it is appropriate for an officer to provide medical care consistent with his training to any individual. Medical care may include providing basic first aid, requesting emergency medical services, and/or arranging for transportation to a medical facility.
Warn Before Shooting
The agency maintains use of force policies and procedures that encourage personnel, circumstances permitting and when reasonably practical, to identify themselves as law enforcement officers and to give verbal warning of their intent to use deadly force.
Shooting at or from a Moving Vehicle
The agency maintains use of force policies and procedures regarding shooting at or from a moving vehicle.
The agency maintains policies and procedures regarding warning shots.
The agency maintains policies and procedures regarding the use and execution of no-knock warrants.
Performance Management Tools
Early Intervention Systems
The agency routinely conducts internal audits of their policies, procedures, and training protocols, as well as officer safety and wellness programs or initiatives. Where resources permit, the agency maintains human resource policies and procedures that aid in the development of human capital, protect due process for officers, and encourages the identification and assistance of law enforcement personnel who are becoming, or likely to become, at risk to violate use of force or other agency policies or procedures.
Hiring of Personnel
The agency maintains policies, procedures, and training protocols to hire and promote only those employees, or others (such as independent contractors), who are the best available candidates for a position according to the accepted standards of objectivity and merit.
The agency implements community engagement plans that address the particular needs of the community being served.
The department also meets all of the use of force standards set forth by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. The agency’s policies and procedures clearly define policy on the use of force, including deadly force, which complies with the provisions of Chapter 5 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa. C.S.A.§ 501, et seq.), state and federal court decisions, and other statutory provisions.
Section 508, Subsection (a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa.C.S.A.), provides provisions for the lawful and justified use of deadly force by a "peace officer". The use of force and deadly force may also be justified under the provisions of Section 505, "Use of force in self-protection" and Section 506, "Use of force for the protection of other persons" of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. (04/14) The agency has a clearly defined and easily understood policy, which complies with the law, regarding the use of deadly force by its law enforcement officers.
See attached Use of Force Policy.