BY NINO AMIRFAR
Turlock Chief of Police
In the past week and after our recent council meeting, it is important that I remind our community of our efforts of transparency. All of our policies, training, daily, monthly and annual reports, along with the use of force reports, are available for review on our webpage.
Our policy on the use of force is enumerated under Turlock Police Department (TPD) section 300 and again is on our website. We are in the process of updates but, in short, I would like to address concerns of many regarding the specifics of certain areas of our policy. California is at the forefront of law enforcement trainings and legal requirements for its officers. The recent passing of SB 978 required law enforcement to make public its policies, standards and training. Also, AB 392 was signed into California law and identifies when the use of deadly force is justified. SB 230 was signed into law and provided funding for training, established guidelines for use of force, de-escalation and other alternatives, when feasible, along with specific guidelines for application of deadly force and factors for evaluating and review of all use of force incidents. While many of these requirements of new trainings and postings don't take effect until 2021, we have already begun training, implementation of updated policy and posting of same.
There have been several emails that I have received and other social media postings regarding a movement called 8cantwait. The movement refers to types of uses of force areas that a change is requested from law enforcement use of force policies. I have listed them and identified policies that deal with each one:
• Ban Choke Holds and Strangulation: The Turlock Police Department does not allow nor train in choke holds or strangulation.
o We do train in the use of Carotid Control Hold (Policy 300.3.4)
• On June 8, 2020, I had the Carotid Control Hold immediately discontinued. It is no longer authorized to be used.
o AB392 requires this and Turlock Police Department has already begun training this (Policy 300.1). While it is not specifically mentioned by word in this section, the Turlock Police Department has started training in this area and the specific wording is being added to policy.
• Warning before using deadly force:
o Turlock Police Department already has this in place (Policy 300.4(b))
• Require to exhaust all alternatives before use of deadly force:
o Turlock Police Department adheres to California Penal Code 835a; it is the intent of the legislature that peace officers use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life. In determining whether deadly force is necessary, officers shall evaluate each situation in light of the particular circumstances of each case and shall use other available resources and techniques, if reasonably safe and feasible, to an objectively reasonable officer. We also adhere to our Policy 300.4.
• Duty to Intervene:
o Turlock Police Department Policy 300.2.1 covers this.
• Require Comprehensive reporting:
o Turlock Police Department Policy 300.5, 300.5.1, 300.5.2 and 300.7 covers this.
• Require use of Force Continuum:
o This is an outdated method of training and, in fact, has proven impractical and dangerous. Our policies are extensive and provide our officers with the knowledge and training that they must utilize in the split seconds they have when determining the necessity to use force and the type of force. Please see Policy 300.
• Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles:
o It is not practical to ban this option, especially with today's examples of homegrown internal terrorism, as vehicles have been used to cause mass casualty events and deaths. Our policy 300.4.1 states that this should only be done when there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat.
Your Turlock Police Department is very mindful of its responsibility to our community and sanctity of life. We understand that our community has great trust in its police officers and that trust has been developed through years of relationship building and community outreach. We continue to strive to keep our community informed as to our everyday activities with our daily log reports posted on social media, our monthly reports to council and to our community, our annual use of force reports and our department annual report. All of these reports, along with all of our policies and training outlines, are available to the public on our website
In addition, we have taken steps over the last several years to improve our training regarding the use of force and the result has been dramatic. In 2015, we had 3,338 arrests which required 48 incidents where force had to be used in order to gain compliance from subject who refused to submit to lawful authority of the officer. We have continued to evaluate training and policy through the years and have had a steady decline of incidents where force was necessary to gain compliance and make an arrest. In 2019, we had 3,372 arrests and the need to use force to gain compliance was 17 incidents. That is a 65% reduction in use of force incidents over the last five years.
We have added a multitude of different trainings such as Crisis Intervention Training, De-escalation Training, Procedural Justice and Implicit/Explicit Bias training, Interpersonal Communications Skills and Use of Force De-escalation training just to name a few.
Your police department is committed to our community and the protection of life. We will always make sure that there is equality and justice for all. Our code of ethics is very clear, and we have sworn an oath to uphold our code of ethics, the laws of our state and nation and the constitutional rights of all.