The Bloomingtonian

Press release: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responds to questions about #8CantWait criteria

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has issued a press release listing the #8CantWait criteria that they say police departments across the United States are using to evaluate the use of force across the United States. The release lists the 8 criteria and then offers the MCSO’s policy for each.

Here is the text of the release:

1) BAN CHOKEHOLDS AND STRANGLEHOLDS

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office does not allow, nor train our Deputies, in the use of chokeholds and strangleholds.

2) REQUIRE DE-ESCALATION

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office incorporates de-escalation training into the annual use of force training; both in the form of classroom and practical training exercises. Deputies are required to respond only with the level of force which is reasonably necessary to control the situation. Deputies must keep in mind that resistance can escalate and de-escalate, and their response must be objectively reasonable and appropriate for the situation.

3) REQUIRE WARNING BEFORE SHOOTING

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office policy requires that, “Deputies shall give a verbal warning before using deadly force whenever it is reasonably feasible to do so”. This policy is also applied to training scenarios at the firearms range, as well as use of force simulators where the scenario is unknown to the Deputy being trained.

4) EXHAUST ALL ALTERNATIVES BEFORE SHOOTING

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office requires that officers respond only with that force which is necessary to control the situation. Under Indiana statute, an officer is justified in using lethal force if the officer reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death to themselves or another person. In most instances, the need for lethal force occurs extremely quickly and the officer’s decision to use lethal force must be made in a split- second. Every incident that requires use of force by a Deputy is unique and therefore it is the responsibility of the Deputy to respond to each threat with the appropriate level of force and there can be no “blanket” policy that requires various steps to be taken before lethal force may be used.

5) DUTY TO INTERVENE

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has a policy in place that grants Deputies the authority to direct commands, regardless of rank, when necessary in periods of emergencies or when they observe a breach of discipline or policy. Further, Deputies are required to immediately report to a supervisor, all information they have regarding persons suspected to be involved in or connected to criminal activity and / or violations of Department Policy. Additionally, Deputies are required to either stop or attempt to stop another law enforcement officer when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required

6) BAN SHOOTING AT MOVING VEHICLES

Deputies may only discharge a firearm at, or from a moving vehicle when in defense of human life, including their own. They may also discharge their firearm in defense of any person in immediate danger of serious bodily injury, including the officer themselves. However, Deputies are required to consider the risks to the public, such as the risk of losing control of a vehicle, ricochet bullets, and the inherent difficulty of making accurate shots in these situations.

7) REQUIRE USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has a Use of Force Framework (continuum) that is incorporated into our Use of Force Policy. The framework is circular in design and requires the Deputy to continuously assess the situation and act in a reasonable manner to ensure officer and public safety. Deputies are required to respond only with the level of force which is reasonably necessary to control the situation.

8) REQUIRE COMPREHENSIVE REPORTING

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office requires all use of force incidents must be reported prior to the end of their shift. This is done by the Deputy completing a use of force form which documents the type of force used, the circumstances which lead to the use of force, and other critical information for the review process. The forms are reviewed by the agency Training Coordinator, as well as body camera footage of the incident to include other Deputies on scene. All information is then entered into a use of force tracking database which also contains an early warning system if a certain number of use of force incidents are done by an individual deputy in a predetermined amount of time. The review process ensures that policies are being followed, as well as determining if the use of force was appropriate given the circumstances.

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