The Longmont Police Department (LPD) recently released a three-year analysis of the Longmont Police use-of-force.
“Over the last several years, a considerable amount of concern has been raised by residents of the United States regarding use of force by police officers. Certain incidents have increased public awareness due to high profile tragedies in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York City, Charleston, and other communities. Communities have expressed concern about how police departments with this anomalous authority, use force,” is stated in the opening paragraph the analysis.
LPD states the in the three-year study, they had 251,179 calls for service, of those calls 245 (.098% or 1 in 1025) resulted in a use-of-force incident. That number does not reflect incidents that included pointing a firearm, pointing a less-lethal firearm or pointing a Taser. Including incidents where these scenarios were enacted the number climbs to 335.
Those 245 use-of-force cases make up 2.36% or 1 in 42 of the 10,318 calls which resulted in a criminal arrest or summons.
The following pie charts show the percentage of use-of-force for 2016, 2017 and 2018 according to LPD:
The percentage numbers do not show up on the pdf so the following chart has been provided to present that data.
According to this analysis the amount of force used in calls of service to the Longmont Police Department make up 0.133% (referred to in the chart as 0%) of all the calls LPD has received over the last three years (up to Nov. 1, 2018).
“Physical force/grappling/joint lock or pressure point accounted for (64%) of the force, followed by pointing a firearm, less lethal shotgun or Taser (27%), use of the Taser in (5.1%), use of a baton for mechanical leverage (1.2%) and use of OC/Chemical Agents. We also had eight K9 bites and fired less-lethal impact projectiles eight times in the last three years or 1% of our use of force incidents. In 60% of our Taser incidents, the subject surrendered when a Taser was pointed at them,” states LPD.
The following pdf reflects the use of force by type:
When force is used, there is potential for people to be injured. LPD tracks these incidents as well as assures us that, “the use of a Taser, OC/Chemical Agents, less lethal impact projectile, fractures or a complaint of Injury require a mandatory medical clearance with a physician. In these cases, all persons were medically cleared and did not need any hospitalization.”
Of all 335 incidents where force was used 178 resulted in no injury to suspects, and 156 incurred mild injuries including abrasions, Taser probe marks, lacerations, contusions and scratches.
“All use of force incidents and injuries are tracked via data collection in our police reports. These incidents are reviewed by the user(s) of force’s immediate supervisor, a commander, and the internal affairs sergeant to ensure compliance with policies, case law, identified training needs and to modify tactics. In the last three years, we had no excessive force complaints from our residents that resulted in a formal investigation,” states Jeff Satur, Deputy Chief of Police.
The following shows the data LPD charts on injuries involving police use-of-force:
In the last three years, one person has died in an officer-involved shooting. This incident occurred on September 20, 2018 and has been reviewed by the Boulder County District Attorney’s office with an investigation report has been publically released.
Satur states that “these numbers are consistent with the practices we have had in place for many years. These practices include: hiring officers who have a high desire to build relationships, selecting officers who communicate well and make good decisions, screening out officers in the hiring process who have any propensity to use force, selecting personnel with a cultural expectation to use the least amount of force.
In addition to our hiring processes, in an effort to reduce the need for force and application of force, we provide our officers with on-going and consistent training in the communications, de-escalation, use of force, case law, and the different applications of force with an eye toward safety. More than 55% of our officers have completed the Crisis Response Team (CIT) training, and we have a very robust Co-Responder (CORE) Program which pairs a mental health clinician with a police officer and paramedic.”
Satur goes on to say that use-of-force incidents are reviewed thouroughly by the chain of command. Additionally, data is kept on all of these incidents, and has been for many years, allowing LPD to identify trends and training needs.
“We regularly review and update our Use of Force policy to ensure compliance with changes in training, case law, and standards established by the courts,” states Satur.
According to the LPD report, “Longmont Police Services is known for our innovations in hiring, training, and development of a culture that works in partnership with the people.”
Satur indicates that that LPD’s renown has led to, “representatives from the Longmont Police Services have been requested to speak at state-wide and national conferences regarding the effectiveness of our policies and practices related to use of force.”
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