SPD Updates Their Use of Force Policy

Sgt. Terry Preuninger, PIO

Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8:25 a.m.

The Spokane Police Department has released its updated and adopted Use of Force Policy which includes the De-escalation section. This section formalizes the department’s ongoing commitment to a broad approach when responding to incidents in our community.   This section is a tangible and visible guide to officers and the community showing the department’s core principles relating to the use of de-escalation tactics.

Police officers have been delegated the responsibility to protect life and property and to apprehend criminal offenders.  The Department is committed to accomplishing this mission with respect and a minimal reliance on the use of force, and by using, whenever possible, rapport-building communication, crisis intervention, and de-escalation tactics before resorting to force. (SPD Policy and procedure, Purpose and Scope 301.1)”

As of October 2019 the updated Use of Force Policy changes have been disseminated to the departments commissioned personnel.  The policy recognizes that in certain situations the use of force may be unavoidable and there is no way in a policy to specify the exact amount or type of force to be applied in any situation.  However, this policy serves as a guideline to all of our commissioned personnel who respond every day to dynamic situations that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.  These situations are impacted by a myriad of factors such as proximity, ambiguity, surprise and different levels of peril, however officers will, when feasible use this broader range of tactics when they can do so without increasing the risk to the safety of those officers or other persons in the community. 

The Spokane Police Department binds its policy and procedures to our federal and state laws and is constantly reviewing incidents, both locally and in other jurisdictions as we look for ways to improve our service to the community. 

“All force used by officers must be objectively reasonable in light of facts and circumstances confronting them. Determining whether force is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment requires carefully balancing the nature and quality of the intrusion on an individual's Fourth Amendment interest against the countervailing governmental interests. (SPD Policy and procedure, ALL FORCE MUST BE OBJECTIVELY REASONALBLE 301.3)

The Spokane Police Department’s Use of Force Policy is available in its entirety on line for viewing by anyone interested. 

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