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Livingston PD Updates Use Of Force Policy

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Livingston PD Updates Use Of Force Policy

The Livingston Police Department has updated its use of force policy after the state mandated all law enforcement agencies to review its guidelines.

Under the changes, officers that are witness to another officer using excessive force must step in and stop the situation. Police Chief Greg Ethridge said the main goal is to hold each other accountable.

“Adding a section that has never been done before, it has always been unwritten, but it was duty to intervene,” Ethridge said. “Duty to intervene basically if one officer was too over zealous or obviously violating the law. Another officer  has a duty to intervene. Period. And then to write a written report. It is not subjective. It just says you have to do that.”

After the incident, the witness officer must contact their supervisor. If an officer has knowledge of an illegal use-of-force but was not present, an incident report is required. Ethridge said the choke-hold guidelines did not need to be revised.

“Our original policy said you can not use a choke-hold unless deadly force was authorized,” Ethridge said. “That is I.E. you are in a fire fight or you are in a fight for your life. You will do whatever you can do. That is still the same. Choke-holds can only be used if life in danger is where we are at.”

Deadly force can only be authorized if two criteria are met. There is imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or person and no other means are available to eliminate the threat.

The policy outlines the recommended progression of force if needed starting with the presence of an officer. Then, dialogue is engaged with soft empty hand control following if resistance is met. If the officer can not apprehend the suspect, then pepper spray is permitted followed by a taser if the suspect is not subdued. If neither options work, then increased physical force is allowed followed by impact force such as a baton. If all stages fail by this point, deadly force can be used if both criteria are met.

Officers can also no longer shoot at a moving vehicle if attempting to disable it. Other changes include the removal of warning shots at people. Ethridge said the department did not practice this, but it was needed in writing.


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