Police Use of Force Policies
The overall purpose and/or reasons for the bill is to direct the Commissioner of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to provide updates to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Use of Force Policy. The bill will require the Commissioner of Police to update the Use of Force Policy to include: 1. Ban officers from using chokeholds or strangleholds as a use of force method; 2. Require officers to use de-escalation tactics when appropriate and possible in place of use of force tactics; 3. Establish a duty to intervene policy, which would require officers to either stop or attempt to stop another sworn employee when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required; and 4. Edit the current use of force reporting policy to include comprehensive reporting and require officers to complete a report if a weapon is drawn and pointed at a civilian(s) regardless if the weapon was discharged or not. The bill will improve the current use of force policy enacted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, which could lead a better relationship between the police and the communities they serve. As the Ferguson Commission report states, "The regular use of force has led many citizens to view the police as an occupying force in their neighborhoods, damaging community trust and making community safety even more difficult." According to the report, efforts to repair the relationship between police and the communities they serve "must begin through changes in use-of-force policies."