Police Review Commission And Use of Force Policy – 2nd in a series

Since the Berkeley City Council’s June 9th Special Meeting, the Police Review Commission (PRC) has been working tirelessly to finish its new Use of Force policy by the end of June in hope of submitting it to Berkeley City Council on July 21st.

PRC finished making edits to the draft policy on 06-26-20. The revised policy will be utilized in training police officers but is accessible to the general public, according to Use of Force Subcommittee Chair George Perezvelez. PRC has been working on Draft Policy 300 for the past two and half weeks to make sure the language is compliant and easy to understand.

The draft says “In any encounters that do call for applying force, officers must always strive to use the minimal amount of force that is objectively reasonable and objectively necessary to safely achieve their legitimate law enforcement objective.” Any action taken by an officer should be reasonable and appropriate to the different levels of resistance they encounter in the course carrying out their duties.

Among issues that were discussed, commissioners went back and forth about what actions by the police are defined as use of force and the levels of resistance that officers can apply in situations. One interesting situation discussed was whether when an officer draws their weapon, it should be defined as a ‘use of force’.

“To draw your weapon regardless of if you are pointing at the individual is more to the action of intent, but to draw your weapon out of your holster,  that sends a use of force notification to the person,” said Perezvelez.

Commissioners are finalizing levels of force in the policy draft for clarity. On July 21st, Berkeley City Council will meet where the new policy is expected to be approved.

–Janaki Gogulamudi

See the First in this series.

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