RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh Police Department has a new de-escalation policy. The department held a public listening session about the policy Thursday evening.
All Raleigh police officers will be trained on the new policy. The policy states de-escalation can minimize the likelihood of an officer using force.
De-escalation used to fall under the department’s use of force protocol but now it is a separate policy.
Raleigh Police Protective Association President Matthew Cooper said de-escalation is pretty much a part of every call officers go on, and that the policy isn’t much different from what officers already do.
“It’s mainly putting pen to paper in kind of the way they explain to the public the way we do things, and what our expectations are of the officers,” Cooper said.
According to the policy, officers should attempt de-escalation techniques if there’s no immediate threat to act. It also states that if possible officer should consider if someone isn’t complying due to circumstances like a medical condition, developmental disability or drug interaction.
Social justice activist Kerwin Pittman believes the policy is too vague.
“I was looking for it to be stronger when it comes to description and actual details of what de-escalation is,” Pittman said.
Raleigh Police Captain Eric Goodwin said specific examples of de-escalation techniques will be part of officer training. He said the training curriculum will be based on the North Carolina Justice Academy’s curriculum.
Goodwin said one example of de-escalation is officers creating distance from a person.
“Because if I’m within arm’s length of a person that’s passively resisting and I’m inviting them to swing at me, now I have the need to act,” Goodwin said. “So, lets stop that, have a reactionary gap, and so that in itself is a piece of de-escalation.”
CBS 17 asked if the new policy means there’s new repercussions for not de-escalating a situation. Goodwin said with new policies come increased accountability but in general, actions that violate this policy already violate existing polices.
“New accountability, supervisors being responsible for looking at and seeing that de-escalation techniques are being imployed by officers, that is new accountability,” Goodwin said.
The policy went into effect after several community feedback sessions on the draft of the policy over the summer.
There will be another de-escalation listening session Saturday, Dec. 17th at 11:00 am at John Chavis Memorial Park.
Below is a full copy of RPD’s de-escalation policy.