Four years ago I wrote the original "Dear Police Chief" blog article. In 2018, I suggested that a "stand down" of police departments occur nationwide. The idea being the Chief of Police of each department would gather officers together and review the use of force policies in their department. Talk about the situations where use of force could result in the death of a suspect. Talk about what police behaviors and actions to self control.
I ask you the same question I asked in 2018. Has your office reviewed your use of force policy with your police officers? If not, why not? Are you okay when violent police behavior or the death of a suspect occurs during a police stop or when a suspect is in the custody of your officer? What has improved for your department since 2018?
Recently two Indiana small town police officers were shot during a traffic stop. One officer in Elwood, Indiana died from the gunfire. Another in Richmond, Indiana as of this writing remains in critical condition. In each instance the police officer stopped the suspect without having the benefit of a backup officer being there. These one-on-one encounters are dangerous for both the police officer and the suspect. In these one-on-one encounters there is a high probability that the officer or suspect will be killed. The officer who fears for their life may shoot and kill the suspect. The suspect may be someone who has made a decision that they will never be returned to prison again. A lifetime criminal's "nothing to lose mentality" is dangerous to the officer and has fatal consequences to the family of the police officer.
I suggest police departments change your policies to always require a second officer be present when a suspect is stopped and approached. If you currently do not have the resources, then request funds for the resources for a second back up officer policy. Isn't the life of the officer and the livelihood of the wife, husband, and children of the officer worth the investment? Isn't the officers life worth the additional funds?
The job of a police officer is likely among the top ten toughest jobs in the United States. Your officer deserves your 100% support. Take action now.