Kalamazoo Public Safety fails use-of-force test

A review shows the department does not have policies that discourage the use of violent force.

Police agencies across the nation are under a microscope following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer using excessive force.

Kalamazoo’s police agency is no different, and a review of department policies shows it doesn’t meet many criteria for avoiding the same sorts of actions.

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MLive obtained policy documents from 12 Michigan police agencies including the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS).

MLive then forwarded those policy documents to a group called #8CANTWAIT, which advocates for eight specific policies police departments can adopt to prevent situations like what happened to George Floyd.

The eight policies are as follows:

  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds by officers
  • Require officers to use de-escalation techniques
  • Require officers to give a verbal warning before shooting a suspect
  • Require officers to exhaust alternatives before resorting to deadly use-of-force
  • Require officers to intervene if another officer is using excessive force
  • Ban officers from shooting at moving vehicles
  • Establish a Force Continuum policy that outlines when different levels of force may be used
  • Require comprehensive reporting of every instance where an officer uses force

A review of KDPS policies shows they only meet three of the standards:

  • Requiring a verbal warning before shooting;
  • Duty to intervene; and
  • Comprehensive reporting.

Of the other 11 departments, only Grand Rapids and the Michigan State Police met none the criteria. Saginaw’s police department ranked best with seven of the eight policies.

The City of Kalamazoo is considering making changes to its use-of-force policies now.

You can read the full story here.

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