Cambridge, Mass., police have denied a public records request for a copy of its use of force policy, arguing that releasing such materials might jeopardize investigations and put officers at risk, reports Muckrock. Use of force policies establish what level of force, if any, is appropriate in a given situation. They make clear when officers may fire at a suspect, physically restrain them, or use other non-lethal tactics. In cases in which law enforcers use deadly force, the policy dictates the chain of reporting and review process.
In an e-mail last month, Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick replied that releasing the policy would hamper investigations, and “more importantly, officers following these policies and procedures may also be placed at risk when engaging dangerous suspects.” By contrast, the Boston Police Department posts its entire manual online, including use of force procedures. The FBI also has released its use of deadly force procedures as an appendix to its operations guide. Somerville police, another large agency in Greater Boston, provided a copy of its policy.