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This is a joint letter from the Snohomish County Sheriff and Police Chief’s Association Regarding George Floyd.
SCSPCA Message Regarding George Floyd(PDF, 246KB)
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"Chokeholds" and strangleholds" are, by their very definition, designed to restrict airflow. Due to the obvious danger, these types of holds were eliminated from our use of force policy years ago.
No, it does not outright ban shooting at vehicles. We have a very detailed policy regarding shooting both at or from a moving vehicle.
Policy 300.4.1 states, “Shots fired at or from a moving vehicle are rarely effective. Officers should move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others. Officers should not shoot at any part of a vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle."
Yes. The Monroe Police Department’s use of force policy requires that officers intercede when they observe another officer using unreasonable force.
Policy 300.2.1 states, “Any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor.”
The specific term "use of force continuum" refers to an outdated use of force model. Our use of force policy is grounded in the fundamental concepts of de-escalation and reasonableness. If force is necessary, then the officer uses only that amount of force that is reasonable given the facts and circumstances at the time of the event – and only for a legitimate law enforcement purpose. This is inline with current best practices in the policing profession.
Policy 300.4 (b) addresses verbal warnings with respect to all deadly force encounters - not just shootings:
“An officer may use deadly force to stop a fleeing subject when the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to any other person if the subject is not immediately apprehended. Under such circumstances, a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force, where feasible.”
Our policy provides clear guidance to our officers to utilize de-escalation tactics when practical.
The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) possesses a piece of curriculum called CIT, Crisis Intervention Team Training. Dating back to 2014, our Police Officers have logged hundreds of hours in various CIT coursework, considered the best practice in the State of Washington. RCW 43.101.427 spells out specific statutory requirements for law enforcement training standards in this area. The Monroe Police Department is fully in compliance with this statute.
Since 2014, the Monroe Police Department has received over 1,000 training hours devoted to topics of Crisis Intervention, De-Escalation, Bias, or Cultural Awareness trainings. After the passage of I-940 in 2018, WSCJTC began creating and adopting rules for new training requirements for officers. As this coursework comes into focus, the Monroe Police Department will remain dedicated to the learning and growth opportunities that lie ahead.
Information on the WSCJTC CIT Program can be found here: https://cjtc.wa.gov/training-education/crisis-intervention-training
Information on the I-940, LETCSA Program can be found here: https://cjtc.wa.gov/letcsa/about-letcsa
Our entire use of force policy is based on the concept that force, when applied by an officer, must be reasonable and necessary. Our policy specifically states the ultimate objective of every law enforcement encounter is to avoid or minimize injury. You might ask, how does an officer determine what is reasonable? Our policy lists several different factors for officers to consider when determining if force is necessary. For example, what is the subject’s mental state or capacity?, what is the subject’s age or size?, are there other options available? All of these factors are detailed in policy section 300.3.2 and are used by the officer(s) to determine if force is necessary and reasonable.
Published on June 1, 2020
This past week’s events have been sobering for our nation. The horrific act of a group of officers through their actions and inactions that killed George Floyd has left us all in disbelief and outrage. The video, while hard to watch, was viewed by all of our officers with good discussions on not only the actions of one officer but also for those officers that could have stepped in and stopped the tragedy.
On Friday, our department was notified of a peaceful demonstration that would occur in Monroe on Saturday and we are thankful that that was exactly what happened. Saturday night, we had Monroe Police Officers respond to Seattle as a part of the North Metro Sound Swat Team. This same team responded Sunday night to Bellevue. I am very grateful those officers made it home and back to their families safely.
We continue to support our law enforcement partners, working as a team, to keep peace in our communities. The men and women of the Monroe Police Department are committed to protecting the constitutional rights of all those we serve, equally, fairly, and without bias. I am extremely proud of our officers and the professional manner in which they conduct themselves. Our officers train to the highest standards and best practices in Crisis Intervention Training, de-escalation, use of force, ethics and are fully partnered with and part of the community.
On a personal note, as the father of a young black man, I worry daily for his safety and am angered by the unnecessary death of George Floyd, it did not have to happen. As a Police Chief, I am saddened that the actions by a few officers in Minneapolis have caused suffering across our nation, and sullied this profession. At this critical time, we should all stand together, reach out with support for each other, and collectively denounce the actions that led to / caused this horrible death.
I welcome the dialog that sheds light on police interactions and ways to improve our relations with our diverse community. As your Police Chief, I commit to continuing a police department that is professional, ethical, and strives to serve and protect our community.