FOP Calls ‘De-Escalation’ Policy ‘Historic,’ Sheriffs Dissent

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The new model policy agreed to by 11 national police organizations on “de-escalation” when an officer faces the choice of using deadly force is “historic,” Fraternal Order of Police director Jim Pasco tells the Washington Post, because of “the span of perspectives which have signed on, the unanimity of groups,” from both labor and police executive groups. “It may well portend a positive working relationship going forward” between officers and police chiefs, Pasco says. Besides emphasizing the de-escalation concept, the policy recommends that police departments declare that “It is the policy of this law enforcement agency to value and preserve human life.”

The consensus also allows for the firing of warning shots, which most police departments prohibit, and the firing at moving vehicles under certain circumstances. Two national sheriffs’ organizations that worked on the policy decided it was “impractical” and said did not adopt it. The International Association of Chiefs of Police brought together more than a dozen national police groups starting last spring to develop the consensus, said former IACP President Terry Cunningham. The presidents of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Major County Sheriffs’ Associations said “the model policy does not have national consensus” and they would not be signing on. Greg Champagne, sheriff of St. Charles Parish, La., and Sandra Hutchens, sheriff of Orange County, Ca., said the IACP effort was “well-intended,” but that “a one-size-fits-all policy is impractical; what is proper and accepted in one city or county may be contrary to law and/or community tolerances in another.”

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