8 Can't Wait
Due to increased interest in eight areas of police action/accountability (commonly titled “8 Can’t Wait”), Allen Police Department (APD) is sharing the policies and best practices which guide our department in these areas.
- Ban at shooting at moving vehicles
Shooting at a moving vehicle is highly restricted, with the exception of a limited number of scenarios requiring the use of deadly force to protect a citizen or an officer.
- Require comprehensive reporting
Anytime a chemical agent, impact weapon, apprehension by a Police K-9, or an injury or claimed injury of any person is reported, a Response to Resistance/Aggression Form is completed. The form is submitted to a member of the Professional Standards Unit (PSU). PSU will then transcribe the required information into the employee’s history file. If the force used is not deemed reasonable by the officer’s Chain of Command and members of the Command Staff, an officer may be disciplined on their first infraction. All reported uses of force are analyzed annually by PSU.
- Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
Lateral Vascular Neck restraint is prohibited by agency. This restraint is considered deadly force and not taught as an approved defensive tactic maneuver. An arrestee is required to be placed in an upright position as soon as possible to avoid positional asphyxiation and then transported in a sitting position utilizing a seat belt for additional safety.
Officers are also instructed on the importance of lateral recumbent positioning. This requires an officer to place a person on their side when needed to increase their ability to breathe and reduce asphyxiation on secretions.
In addition, officers receive mandatory training on Police Tactical Medicine and Self Aid-Buddy Aid. This course provides officers with the essential skills necessary to save their own lives, or the life of another prior to the arrival of emergency medical personnel. In addition to CPR training, all uniformed personnel have been outfitted with tools (such as tourniquets, pressure bandages, blood clotting agents and chest seals) to preserve the life of another human being.
- Require de-escalation
Mandated with the passage of the Sandra Bland Act (SB 1849) by the Texas Legislature in 2017, an officer with a basic proficiency certificate is now required to obtain 8-hours of Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) approved de-escalation training every 48 months. This class is also required for officers who wish to obtain either intermediate or advanced certificates. In addition, all sworn personnel are mandated to take the following courses every two years: De-Escalation and Minimizing Use of Force, Crisis Intervention Training, Implicit Bias and Civilian Interaction.
Also, APD has reintroduced tactics teaching officers the skills necessary to remain centered and focused during any verbal circumstance, commonly known as “Verbal Judo.” Crisis Intervention Training, De-Escalation and Verbal Judo are all taught in-house by APD staff.
- Use of force continuum
The use of force continuum proved to be an inefficient guide to officers in their decisions in response to aggression. Additionally, the continuum could justify unwanted behavior.
By utilizing Objective Reasonableness, officers are guided more efficiently in the alternatives and community intention of our citizen interactions than the use of force continuum. The APD utilizes a wheel or range of alternatives that utilizes objective reasonableness, outlined in the 1989 Supreme Court case Graham vs. Connor. This case defines reasonableness based on approximately 16 considerations of officers’ responses to resistance.
APD’s Response to Resistance/Aggression policy outlines multiple options available to officers, including: officer presence, verbal commands, physical control, less lethal force and deadly force. Guidelines also define proper use of electronic control device, chemical agents, impact weapons and lethal weapons. Officers train annually on the Department’s Response to Resistance/Aggression policy.
- Require a warning before a shooting
Officers are trained to verbalize commands. When responding to active aggression, verbalization and the drawing of a deadly weapon may occur simultaneously. Deployment of both lethal and non-lethal weapons requires verbalization.
- Exhaust other means before shooting
The overarching emphasis on Response to Resistance/Aggression is to recognize and value the protection and sanctity of each human life. APD officers only use force that is objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control while protecting the lives of the subject, other civilians or officers. Neither the use of force continuum nor Objective Reasonableness standard requires a stair step approach to a Response to Resistance/Aggression. Both standards provide guidance on decision-making based on the circumstances of the encounter/incident.
- Duty to intervene
Officers are expected to intervene and are required to report violations. If an investigation determines that officers failed to intervene in misconduct they will be disciplined.