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Longmont Police Release Use of Force Statistics

Use of Force Incidents in Longmont Less than 1% of Calls For Service

Post Date:11/07/2018 10:46 AM

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.

Longmont Police officers rarely use force in apprehending suspects, and when they do, the injuries are uncommon and even minor. In our three-year review of 251,179 calls for service (CFS), we had 245 use-of-force incidents, which represented 0.098 percent (1 in 1025) of all calls for service and 2.36 percent (1 in 42) of the 10,318 calls that resulted in a criminal arrests/summons.  If you include pointing a firearm, pointing a less-lethal firearm or pointing a Taser, we had 90* additional use of force incidents for a total of 335 use of force incidents.

This may surprise some, but 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.

Lastly, all use of force incidents are reviewed in a consistent multiple step, thorough review, in the user(s)supervisory chain of command and, we have many years of data, allowing our agency to identify patterns or 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.

Among the 335 suspects affected in the last three years of use-of-force incidents, 178 had no injuries, 156 incurred mild injuries, such as abrasions, Taser probe marks, lacerations, contusions, and scratches.  One person died as a result of an officer-involved shooting in September 2018. (D.A. review is expected to be publicly released in the next two weeks)  Note:  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.  

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. 

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. 

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. 

In closing, Longmont Police Services is known for our innovations in hiring, training, and development of a culture that works in partnership with the people.

Please see attachment for a year to year breakdown (2016, 2017 and 2018 – through November 1, 2018)

 

*NOTE: Not all law enforcement agencies keep data on pointing a firearm, less-lethal firearm or Taser.  This number is estimated based on the percentage of total use of force incidents.   

   

 

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