Creating a Safer Upstate: Workshop #1 – Use of Force

August 25, 2021

Recording of the Workshop

Panelists
  • Chief Matt Hamby, City of Greer (Moderator)
  • Chief Jim Stewart, Anderson Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Jennifer Kindall, Spartanburg Police Department
  • Chief Tony Taylor, Williamston Police Department
Welcome – Dean Hybl, Executive Director, Ten at the Top

TATT focuses on creating partnerships and collaborations around issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life in the ten-county region.

Over a year ago, we started conversations with law enforcement officials and residents to work collaboratively to ensure a safer Upstate. A discovery committee of about 50 people came up with recommendations, and under the guidance of Stan Davis, one of the important opportunities identified was to create dialogue to allay misconceptions and share law enforcement practices.

There will be four workshops in this Beyond the Shield series:

  • Use of Force
  • Technology – body cameras, car tag readers
  • Hiring, Recruiting, Retention, and Training
  • Neighborhood Safety Concerns
Chief Matt Hamby – Introduction

Why are we here? The aftermath of the George Floyd incident on Memorial Day 2020 shook our nation and created a nationwide conversation about policing.

Why do Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) use force?

1. Protection of life:

  • Protection of the life of a citizen, immediate jeopardy
  • Protection of themselves
  • This type of force can range from a very low amount of force – all the way up to, in rare instances, deadly force

2. Effect a legal arrest or detainment

  • Enforce law
  • Effect an arrest for a crime that was committed
  • Effect a legal investigatory stop to investigate a crime in progress

Law Enforcement Use of Force is regulated by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The 4th Amendment provides that citizens are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures from the government (law enforcement)

  • The 4th Amendment was written somewhat vaguely by the framers of our constitution, but that vagueness was intentional.
  • Our Court systems, over time, have provided interpretations of the 4th Amendment as they issue decisions on appeals of court cases.
  • Over time, two prevailing court cases have resulted in becoming the guiding principles for law enforcement’s use of force policies.

Tenn v. Garner

  • A civil case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, the officer might not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

Graham v. Connor

  • All Uses of Force in arrest and seizures of a citizen are judged by the 4th Amendment’s OBJECTIVE REASONABLENESS standard set by (Graham v Connor opinion in 1989). This OBJECTIVE REASONABLENESS standard analysis consists of:
    • The severity of the suspected offense
    • Did the suspect pose an immediate threat to the officers or others
    • Is the suspect actively resisting or attempting to evade arrest by flight?

These two cases are the “meat and potatoes” of law enforcement policies as it refers to Use of Force.

Law Enforcement Agencies provide guidelines for their officers in the form of Policies and Procedures or General Orders.

These policies are available to the public to view.

The Greer Police Department’s entire General Order Manual is available online at the City of Greer website.

All LEOs are provided additional and continuous training systems at their own agency and by the SCCJA.

Chief Taylor – State Provided/Mandated Training (SCCJA)
  • Appointed by Governor McMaster to be part of law enforcement training council
  • Guides training for criminal justice academy and deals with certification issues
  • In case of termination, when meeting certain criteria (for example, using excessive force, not being truthful in policy violations), officers can’t serve in SC and are entered into a national database
  • Now requiring reserve officers in advance class 3 to take psychological testing (reserve officers work for free after passing test at academy)
  • Duty to intervene – if an officer is not following proper protocol, it is up to other officer(s) to intervene and report to supervising officer
  • Mental health is taken into account
  • There is a mobile training team that will go to agencies and go through types of deadly force/critical skills sets.
Chief Stewart – Internal Agency Oversight of UOF

General Orders listed on City of Anderson website under About Us>General Orders

  • Response to Resistance (formerly use of force) – changes highlighted in red, added new language, reviewed annually in training, and everyone signs off
  • Duty to Intervene – spells out that everyone has the same responsibility as the officer.
  • Recently completed defensive tactics training to go over fundamentals; firearms training, day and night qualifications, back-up ankle weapons, rifle, taser, baton, etc.
  • Purchased TI training simulator
  • Response to Resistance Form must be completed after every case
  • All use of force incidents are listed on their website
  • Mobile View and Smart Systems Body-Worn Camera (BWC) ability to capture picture for reports, night vision, capture audio
Deputy Chief Jennifer Kindall– Prevention/De-escalation Training
  • Response to Resistance – mindset of officers, is key. You are responding to actions of the person you are dealing with
  • Personnel must understand what constitutional authority they have in using force and training
  • De-escalation is not a replacement for the use of force; it is a mindset that they hope to instill in officers that will aid and reduce the use of force
  • Situations determine options available to officers
  • We have a responsibility not to escalate situations and to reduce the intensity and slow things down to create an environment where the use of force is not necessary
  • De-escalation has been in use for many, many years
  • In Spartanburg, from January 1, 2019, to today, officers have responded to 135,665 calls for service. Out of those, 56 incidents of officers using force, which is less than 1%
  • Weapon drawn is required data to ensure that officers are within policies
  • Important to acknowledge mistakes when identified
  • Work to be done on prevention and supplying information to national database.
Community Leader Q & A
  • Reverend James C. Clark, Wilson Calvary Baptist Church
  • Lamont Sullivan, Assistant Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement at North Greenville University
  • Dr. Jacqueline Blakley, Dean Public Services Division, Tri-County Technical College

Question: How is an officer to officer accountability assessed during situations where the use of force is used?  For example, there were officers watching George Floyd during the whole time he was asking for help.

  • Chief Taylor – Every agency should have a Duty to Intervene policy, confront other officer and intervene when the other office doing something unlawful.

Question: What is the desired outcome of the psychological testing?  Does it give you insights to the natural aggression patterns of a potential officer candidate?

  • Answer: In SC, every agency, when doing pre-hire background, must go through academy to see status. By law, if a person has been untruthful or has used excessive force, agencies must report misconduct and attend administrative hearing. Now able to fine agency that does not attend hearing.

Question: If senior officer arrives, how do junior officer know when to step aside?

  • Answer: Every offer has the duty to intervene, and all personnel have a duty to report. Officers have affirmative duty to care for those in their custody.

Question: Is there a tracking mechanism for officers who profile?

  • Answer: Any time officers stop a vehicle, by state law, they must complete a form that has gender, race, age, so it is trackable and commonly available on that agency’s website. Greer’s Public Contact Form is done electronically and available through the Public Safety website, search public contacts.

Question: How often is psychological testing done and what are they looking for?

  • Answer:  Psychological testing is required for the criminal justice academy. Most have early warning indicators, time out of work, excessive use of force, change in work performance. They may receive employee assistance through personnel. Issues could come from traumatic incidents.

We are looking for a psychological profile that is suitable for law enforcement and part of a comprehensive background investigation to confirm that the individual is a good fit for the profession and organization. SC mandates this as a requirement. It is important to trust the test.

From an academy perspective, evaluation content should cover developmental milestones, coping skills, management of financial responsibilities, freedom from any emotional issues, stress resilience, self-control, impulse control, etc. The list is extensive.

Wrap-Up

More workshops coming in the fall:

  • Technology – body cameras, car tag readers
  • Hiring, Recruiting, Retention and Training
  • Neighborhood Safety Concerns

Dr. Blakley with Tri-County Technical College is working on in-person community and law enforcement engagement events. More information to follow.