MPD adds new guidelines to excessive force policy
Fri, 06/19/2020 - 8:36am classified@mont...
In a show of solidarity within the community, the Monticello Police Department has implemented a safeguard to already existing use of force policies and procedures.
“We have a clear policy on use of force and we have a clear code of ethics we follow,” said Monticello Police Chief Jason Akers. “This particular policy addition clarifies and establishes a procedure that further inhibits the likelihood of excessive force and establishes a mechanism of tracking complaints made against an officer for excessive force.”
A normal interaction with the police department should, and normally does, run smoothly with no one being injured, civilian or officer. Interactions between law enforcement and citizens requires correct behavior of both, the citizen and the officer.
“First, it is the duty of the person being arrested to comply, often times non-compliance is what generates a physical confrontation,” said Akers. “Second, it is the responsibility of the arresting officer to behave professionally and use only the amount of force necessary. When the suspect complies, there is generally no problem affecting the arrest. This policy adds to already effective use of force policies adopted by the Monticello Police Department last year.”
When Akers reported as chief, he noticed a lack of policy pertaining to use of force in the department. One of his first priorities on the job was working with Monticello Mayor Paige Chase and the City Council to establish a thorough set of policies and procedures to protect both officers and citizens, as well as, to create a consistent way of operating during police interactions with citizens.
“While the existing policy is thorough, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and clarify policies so no mistakes are made during law enforcement activities,” stated Akers.
The new policy mandates if a Monticello Police Officer observes any law enforcement officer using excessive force or refusing medical treatment to a suspect or citizen, the officer will intervene and then immediately report the incident to the respective division supervisor. The division supervisor immediately notifies the assistant chief and chief of the police department. At that point an investigation is immediately conducted.
“If a patrolman or a sergeant is on a call and the patrolman sees the sergeant using excessive force, he would step in and then report that to the patrol lieutenant, not his immediate supervisor,” said Akers.
This empowers officers to step in, without fear of retaliation, if standard use of force policies are violated and it enables the department to identify, quickly, a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the expectations of the citizens of Monticello and the law enforcement community.
“This policy is demonstrative of how law enforcement as a whole feels about excessive force, it’s not acceptable,” said Akers. “There is a misconception that police officers often condone excessive force, this could not be further from the truth. Transparency is the only way to demonstrate to the public that we disapprove of any abuse of citizens in this country just as much as everyone else. This policy gives us more transparency.”
The new policy can be read in its entirety at monticellonews.net