The City of Emeryville holds its police department to high standards of service delivery to the community. The Emeryville Police Department recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to protect the public welfare and to use reasonable force requires monitoring, evaluation, and a careful balancing of all interests. The Emeryville Police Department has a long history of judicious, lawful and minimal use of force that is constrained by policy, laws, training, supervision, progressive thinking, accountability, transparency, community engagement, and community expectations. We are a ‘learning organization’ continuously seeking to improve and enhance our commitment to protect and preserve life.
Communities across the nation are enraged by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police. This presents an opportunity for all law enforcement agencies to review policies and training in use of force. We are deeply saddened and disturbed by the tactics used in the killing of George Floyd. We do not train our officers to do that.
Many agencies are being scrutinized even more now on their practices to ensure they are reducing harms and that their policies are focused on reduction of use of force and officer involved shootings. In response to questions about our use of force policies and specifically those generated by the www.8cantwait.org which is sponsored by Campaign Zero, we are posting this information to assist the community in its understanding of the Emeryville Police Department’s policies.
The Emeryville Police Department relies on the Lexipol policy platform to host our policy manual and to also provide daily training bulletins. This ensures that our personnel are consistently exposed to policy and are tested on various aspects of it each day they are at work. Lexipol is the leading platform for comprehensive public safety and local government agency policy development, to ensure our staff have the most up-to-date resources to carry out their duties and ensure public safety. Lexipol’s group of expert attorneys develop evidence-based, legally defensible policies. The Emeryville Police Department reviews and updates the policy manual every six months.
The 8cantwait campaign has identified the following areas of focus in the training reduction of harms and death:
- Require de-escalation
- Duty to intervene
- Require warning before shooting
- Exhaust all other means before shooting
- Require comprehensive reporting
- Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
- Ban shooting at moving vehicles
- Require use of force continuum
Below are the EPD policies that align with the 8 pillars specified in the 8 policies to reduce police use of force:
- Require officers to de-escalate situations – Policy 302.9 KINETIC ENERGY PROJECTILE GUIDELINES This department is committed to reducing the potential for violent confrontations. Kinetic energy projectiles, when used properly, are less likely to result in death or serious physical injury and can be used in an attempt to de-escalate a potentially deadly situation.
- Require officers to intervene – Policy 300.2.1 DUTY TO INTERCEDE 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.
- Require officers to give a verbal warning – Policy 302.3 Control devices may be used when a decision has been made to control, restrain or arrest a subject who is violent or who demonstrates the intent to be violent, and the use of the device appears reasonable under the circumstances. When reasonable, a verbal warning and opportunity to comply should precede the use of these devices. Policy 303.4 VERBAL AND VISUAL WARNINGSA verbal warning of the intended use of the CED should precede its application, unless it would otherwise endanger the safety of officers or when it is not practicable due to the circumstances. The purpose of the warning is to: Provide the individual with a reasonable opportunity to voluntarily comply. Provide other officers and individuals with a warning that the CED may be deployed.
- Restrict of prohibit chokeholds and strangleholds – Policy 300.3.4 CAROTID CONTROL HOLD This is prohibited
- Prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles – Policy 300.4.1 SHOOTING AT OR FROM MOVING VEHICLES 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.
- Require officers to exhaust all of the options (before resorting to deadly force) – Policy 300.4 DEADLY FORCE APPLICATIONS If an objectively reasonable officer would consider it safe and feasible to do so under the totality of the circumstances, officers should evaluate the use of other reasonably available resources and techniques when determining whether to use deadly force. The use of deadly force is only justified in the following circumstances (Penal Code § 835a). Refer to attached policy for further restrictions on the use of deadly force.
- Use a continuum of force -300.2 POLICY The use of force by law enforcement personnel is a matter of critical concern, both to the public and to the law enforcement community. Officers are involved on a daily basis in numerous and varied interactions and, when warranted, may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties. Officers must have an understanding of, and true appreciation for, their authority and limitations. This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties. The Department recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires monitoring, evaluation and a careful balancing of all interests. 300.3.2 FACTORS USED TO DETERMINE THE REASONABLENESS OF FORCE When determining whether to apply force and evaluating whether an officer has used reasonable force, a number of factors should be taken into consideration, as time and circumstances permit.
- Required comprehensive reporting – Policy 300.5 REPORTING THE USE OF FORCE Any use of force by a member of this department shall be documented promptly, completely and accurately in an appropriate report, depending on the nature of the incident. The officer should articulate the factors perceived and why he/she believed the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances. To collect data for purposes of training, resource allocation, analysis and related purposes, the Department may require the completion of additional report forms, as specified in department policy, procedure or law. Policy 325.1.1 REPORT PREPARATION Employees should ensure that reports are sufficiently detailed for their purpose and free from errors prior to submission. It is the responsibility of the assigned employee to complete and submit all reports taken during the shift before going off-duty unless permission to hold the report has been approved by a supervisor. Generally, reports requiring prompt follow-up action on active leads, or arrest reports where the suspect remains in custody should not be held. Policy 325.2.1 CRIMINAL ACTIVITY When a member responds to a call for service, or as a result of self-initiated activity becomes aware of any activity where a crime has occurred, the member shall document the incident regardless of whether a victim desires prosecution.
The remedies we generally use on behalf of the police and the community have not done enough to facilitate building stronger relationships, understanding each other, policy changes, reducing harms, or shift in police culture.
It is unrealistic to expect that new legislation and policy alone would result in a change in police officer performance. Police officers cannot meet this expectation of responding to stressful and traumatic situations in a manner that reduces the opportunity for force, if we do not train them in the skill of self-control.
Emeryville Police Department is unique in how it has incorporated additional training to reduce harms and incidents of excessive force and officer involved shootings. Historically reform for police training in use of force and officer involved shootings, has focused on policy review, new legislation, and equipment and a continuum of uses of force.
Emeryville has incorporated trainings in de-escalation, bystander-officer intervention, and self-regulation techniques into every aspect of use of force training in our department. In recognition of providing skills in self-control, mindful policing, and to reduce use of force we now have in-house instructors in de-escalation, bystander-officer intervention, procedural justice, mindfulness resiliency, and train regularly in the following topic areas:
Our training efforts are heavily focused on enhancing our ability to carry out our duties while also reducing harm to our community, and the potential for injury or death. We have an average of 30,000 calls for service each year. We respect and value human life. We hear the voices of the most marginalized and harmed communities. In the past four years we have not had any instances of life-threatening injury or death. We will continue to focus our efforts on reduction of harms and carrying out our mission through the lens of our shared humanity and we remain responsive to community guidance on our training, policy, and service delivery standards.