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SLO police to share policies on use of force

SLO police
Posted at 7:09 AM, Jan 29, 2020

San Luis Obispo police plan to address Wednesday night a new California law that creates stricter guidelines for when officers can use deadly force.

The program, which is called SLOPD Peace Talks, is a two hour discussion that focuses on police protocols for use of force, police body cameras, and mental health resources.

The new law, AB 392, creates tougher standards for when it's appropriate for officers to use deadly force.

Videos showing police use of force by officers nationwide have long been a point of contention between law enforcement and the citizens they serve.

While cases involving use of deadly force dominate headlines, less lethal forms of force are most common.

SLOPD wants to open a dialogue with the public, sharing department policies and answering questions about everything from deadly force to hand cuffing procedures.

"There's a lot of controversy around use of force and we're not trying to say we're perfect and handle it appropriately every time but I think it's a different perspective, not just the perspective of what was captured on camera or is interpreted by suspects or people out there but also the internal perspective of law enforcement," SLOPD Capt. Jeff Smith said.

Smith said the department tracks all forms of use of force.

"Several years back, (hand cuffing) wouldn't have been documented unless the individual received injury and went to the hospital," Smith said. "So we use to base it on injury if there is any strikes, punches, other tools such as tazer, pepper spray, baton was used. Now it's just anything that would appear to be aggressive in nature."

Smith said the department's use of force over the years is fairly consistent but he says 2019 saw a slight decrease in reports.

Smith did not provide specific figures and his department did not return a request for statistics on use of force.

This is the first of two peace talks. The Wednesday event starts at 6 p.m. at French Hospital and you must sign up in advance.