Department of Homeland Security updates use of force policy
The Department of Homeland Security has released a new use of force policy to align itself with an executive order President Biden signed in May.
It states law enforcement officers may use force only when no reasonably effective, safe, and feasible alternative appears to exist. It says because there can’t be a precise definition of reasonable, it must be judged by the perspective of the officer on scene, not with 20/20 hindsight.
- The updates include prohibiting the use of deadly force against a person who is only a threat to themselves or property,
- Prohibiting choke holds and carotid restraints unless deadly force is authorized,
- Limiting the use of no knock warrants,
- Requiring all DHS employees with knowledge of an officer’s improper use of force to report it to their chain of command. Failure to do so can result in a firing and civil liability.
- There will also be training on de-escalation techniques, and implicit bias and profiling.
This will apply to every branch of the department, including the Coast Guard, Secret Service, TSA, Border Patrol and ICE.
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement:
“Our ability to secure the homeland rests on public trust, which is built by accountability, transparency, and effectiveness in our law enforcement practices. Today’s policy announcement is designed to advance those essential values.”
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