Saturday, May 16, 2009

Video Use of Force

Video is everywhere. When you do your job, just pretend that someone has you on tape. Because there is a good chance someone does. Every ATM has at least one security camera. How many ATMs are there in your beat? Nearly every cell phone has a video camera. How many cell phones are in your beat? Every bank, every cash register, every police car, every industrial building, every jewelery store, video cameras are everywhere.

Do your job as if everything you do is being recorded on camera. That means some day it may be seen by your wife, your supervisor, your chief, your priest, your next door neighbor, your best friend and your mom and your kids. Sometimes cops have to do things that are hard to watch, shooting a bad guy, using the baton on a violent suspect, wrestling someone to the ground who does not want to go to jail. But there is a big difference between that and an improper use of force.

Your reports must accurately reflect what you did and why you did it. You may not remember how many times you hit the suspect, that's okay. If you think you hit him at least three time then write it just like that. "To the best of my recollection, I struck the suspect three times with my closed fist, in the right upper arm." The number of times you hit the suspect does not matter as long as each strike was reasonable. If it takes three hits or five or nine to force the suspect to comply and get him into handcuffs then that is a reasonable number of times to hit him. If it takes only one hit to get him into handcuffs and you hit him twice after he surrendered, then you hit him too many times; that's what the SGT Says.


Texas Ghostrider said...

You are soooo, Right about video. The first thing I do at a crime scene is start looking around for the camera's. When I FTO rookies I teach them the same thing, act like your on tape because you are. I was down in a bayou chasing a suspect and sure enough it made the news. I didn't do anything bad but It showed us in a foot pursuit, So remember, Yell Commands and act as if are going to be on the news because you will be.

Protect_and_Serve said...

...and for Pete's sake, try and stay off "youtube".

Nuno M. Cabe├žadas said...

Today many cellphones can record a video and some may send it directly to a PC running a videocall software. Its possible to be sending directly live images to a control center where they can be viewed or stored. This help both the evaluation of the action and future training, but can also protect the officers from being wrongly accused of any kind ob abuse.

mrs. fuzz said...

This is a great post. I'm going to ask my rookie husband if he's doing this.

Bunkermeister said...

Mrs. Fuzz,
Thank you for watching out for your man. Police work can be difficult and having a good woman makes it so much easier. I have been lucky enough to have two in my life; my late wife was very supportive as is my new wife!

Bunkermeister said...

Texas Ghostrider, Thanks for watching out for the kids! We have an obligation to pass on our information and help keep them safe.