De-Escalation + Use of Force
Use of Force by law enforcement personnel is a matter of critical concern, both to the public and to the law enforcement community. Officers are involved on a daily basis in numerous and varied interactions and, when warranted, may use the minimal reasonable force necessary, in carrying out their duties. Officers must have an understanding of, and true appreciation for, their authority and limitations. This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties. Utah Tech Police Department recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone, as outlined in President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released by the Department of Justice, in 2015.
UTPD has a philosophy and practice of de-escalation tactics and efforts. To ensure this is a central part of our culture and operations, we integrate de-escalation into all of our department use of force training (meaning it’s not just a one-time class). We strive for all of Utah Tech University Officers to be certified in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, through CIT Utah (exceeding the national standard of 20%). In any situation officer’s encounter, the safety of all involved parties is our top priority.
TACTICS + TRANSITIONS
Our department seeks to use the least amount of force necessary to ensure the safety of all involved in a situation. Our defensive tactics protocols and use of force continuum train our officers to make force decisions based on the level of threat presented. Our defensive tactics and firearms training includes transitioning between responses, so officers are well equipped to move up and down the use of force continuum, based on the threat presented.
Utah Tech Police Department (UTPD) requires all use of force, and shows of force, to be maintained and documented in yearly reporting. This process allows internal affairs and supervisors to review and document concerns with any needed or requested follow-up. Use of Force items tracked include:
1. Use of Force & Show of Force
2. Vehicle pursuits
3. Vehicle collisions involving university police-owned vehicles
4. Pepper spray or baton deployments
5. Performance complaints
6. Civil Rights complaints
Community Member Review Board – At the request of the Chief of Police, the Community Member Review Board makes recommendations concerning interpretation of police policies and procedures. The board reviews internal investigations concerning police officer and non-sworn department employee conduct in the following situations:
1. Upon written complaint, where an Officer is alleged to have: shown or used force; discharged a firearm in violation of policy or law; committed a crime; or caused a person to sustain severe injury, death, or complaint of a civil rights violation is made to the department.
2. Regardless of whether or not there is a complaint, where an Officer has used deadly force.
3. Upon written request, where a community member wants to have an Internal Affairs decision reviewed with regard to any other written allegation of misconduct of an Officer/employee.
4. Any other investigation as requested by the Chief of Police or President of the University.
WASHINGTON COUNTY CRITICAL INCIDENT TASK FORCE RESPONSE TEAM
The Washington County Critical Incident Task Force Response Team Protocol, a multi-agency Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) Task Force, is called in any time there is an officer-involved shooting that results in injury or death, or if a death occurs while an individual is in custody of law enforcement. At the conclusion of a CIRT investigation, the findings are reported to the District Attorney. The District Attorney completes a thorough review of the entire investigation and uses the applicable law to determine whether the use of force was justified.