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Baltimore's New Use-of-Force Policy Stresses De-Escalation

June 30, 2016  | 

The Baltimore Police Department plans to implement a new use-of-force policy Friday that emphasizes the "sanctity of life," stresses de-escalation and requires officers to intervene if they see a fellow cop crossing the line.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the new policy on Wednesday as the U.S. Department of Justice prepares to release the results of its sweeping investigation into the department's patterns and practices, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The first full rewrite of the policy since 2003 comes more than a year after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in police custody — an incident that sparked widespread protests, the Justice investigation and the prosecution of six officers.

Rawlings-Blake, who announced the policy changes alongside Police Commissioner Kevin Davis at police headquarters, said the use of force by officers is "one of the most scrutinized areas in policing, and it is incumbent upon the police department to ensure its officers are well trained and knowledgable about the procedures when a decision is made to use force."

Rawlings-Blake said city residents never tell her they want "an aggressive police department; they say they want an effective police department," which she said the changes would help create.

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

kevcopAz @ 7/1/2016 7:50 AM

Really? We LEOs of all people have to be reminded of the "sanctity of life"? I do not lessen the need for de-escalation in these incidents, thats what good well trained cops have always done, thats what good FTO teaches the rookies. If you can avoid a fight, a shooting or anyone getting roughed up its better for everyone. But really all this time and money spent on this cop grade school stuff? This is nothing but politically correct, CYA lawyer B>S> and a waste of time. If Baltimore cops didn't already know this they were either very poorly trained or not fit to wear a badge. I smell a politician's relative or friend or benefactor getting paid for this training, and getting big bucks to pass some favors along and make the city look good at the same time. Perhaps the State's Atty.'s office there should get training on respecting the law and law enforcement and prosecutorial misconduct instead. Would knowing "the sanctity of life" prevented Gray from banging his head himself in the van?

Terry @ 7/1/2016 7:51 AM

"Sanctity of life", De-escalation and intervention if observing a fellow officer crossing the line. How is this new? This is the way I was trained 23 years ago. How about educating our civilian population on the concept of approach begets response! My response is predicated on the actions of the individual I'm encountering. Just as their response is predicated on how I approach them. That depends on their actions at the time of contact. De-escalation is not an option when someone is armed. Further unarmed does not necessarily equate to non-threatening. This mayor needs to stay in her lane!

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