There have been numerous questions and concerns across the nation in regards to the men and women in blue.  Police officers put their lives on a line on a daily basis.  Now, the country is questioning the actions of police departments and their officers.

Over the past month, there has been a great deal of national attention and focus surrounding police policy.  Several reforms have been suggested, but how does the National Police Policy Reform affect the Sioux Falls Police Department?

According to a press release, Sioux Falls Police Cheif Matt Burns states, "It is important to let people know our policies are consistent with the national reform conversations taking place.  “We strive to have officers that are not only well trained but follow that training, in an effort to handle situations in the most appropriate manner.”

The following is some of the popular reform topics that are being discussed and how these subjects are being addressed within the Sioux Falls Police Department:

De-Escalate situations, when possible, before using force

  • The Sioux Falls Police officers are highly trained in de-escalation tactics, which include Crisis Intervention Techniques, Dispute Resolutions, and Professional Communications.  This type of training also builds into Defensive Tactics, firearms, and taser training.  In these situations, the first option for officers is to use verbal commands.  This step is very crucial and helpful for mental health and domestic violence calls.  Almost half of the uniformed officers with the S.F.P.D is certified in Crisis Intervention Training.

Chokeholds / Strangleholds

  • These techniques are not practiced by the S.F.P.D., and they are not part of the department's policy.  The only exception to this policy is when an officer's life is at risk and where "lethal force is authorized."  If anything, officers are trained on how to escape chokeholds and strangleholds.

Officers give warning before shooting

  • According to the press release, this policy says, "Officers should warn the subject prior to using deadly force where feasible.”

Exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force

  • It is the duty of an S.F.P.D. officer that he or she must use other "reasonable means" of control, restraint, apprehension, or force before exercising deadly force.

Duty of officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force

  • The officers of the department are expected to conduct and approach a situation in a lawful manner in order to respect the S.F.P.D.    All officers are trained in Ethics and how to interfere when a fellow officer is involved with any wrongdoing or misconduct.

Shooting at moving vehicles

  • Officers with the S.F.P.D. are not supposed to shoot their firearms at any moving vehicle.  However, the exception to this policy is when an officer believes that a vehicle shows an imminent threat of death or a serious injury to an officer or another person.  This can also apply if an officer notices that the driver of a vehicle shows an imminent threat of death or a serious injury to an officer or another person.

Use of force continuum

  • The S.F.P.D. uses a constitutional model as opposed to a force continuum.  The press release explains, "That officer(s) have several force options in response to the resistance that is dictated by the actions of the suspect upon the appearance of the police officer."

Comprehensive reporting

  • All responses (besides pain compliance) that include pointing a firearm or taser has to be reported to a supervisor. A report also must be made when a person is controlled and receives an injury or complains about one.

The Sioux Falls Police Department policies are reviewed through the Legal and Liability Risk Management Institute (L.L.R.M.I.).  This organization ensures that the department is following the State and Federal law.

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