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IMPD unveils new use of force policies

The new policies focus on clearly defining de-escalation tactics and require officers to report inappropriate force they've witnessed.

INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD has adopted a new use of force policy that emphasizes de-escalation techniques and puts restrictions on the use of lethal and less-lethal devices.

Here are the eight policies IMPD adopted:

  1. Outline clearly defined de-escalation requirements: The new policy explicitly outlines the use of de-escalation tactics such as communication, time, and distance and requires that officers attempt to de-escalate situations with the goal of resolving encounters without the use of force whenever feasible. IMPD training has included de-escalation techniques for some time, but the department’s commitment to de-escalation is now made explicit in the use of force policy itself.
  2. Create a clear standard for use of deadly force: IMPD has adopted the standard for deadly force outlined by California Assembly Bill 392, which provides greater clarification and limitations on when deadly force may be used.
  3. Prohibit the use of chokeholds: While IMPD training does not consider chokeholds an appropriate technique, the approved Use of Force policy explicitly prohibits this tactic or any similar neck restraint.
  4. Require the use of proportionate force: Officers must use only the minimum amount of force appropriate, based on the circumstances known to the officer, to achieve the officer's legitimate public safety objectives.
  5. Define an officer's duty to intervene and report when inappropriate force is used: Officers now have an explicit duty to prevent or stop the use of excessive force by another officer and report any violation of the Use of Force policy to a supervisor. This was not previously outlined in IMPD’s Use of Force policy.
  6. Clearly specify rules for using less-lethal force: The new use of force standards are outlined in two policies – one that governs the use of specific types of less-lethal devices, and one that covers IMPD's general use of force principles. The rules for deployment of less-lethal levels of force are consistent with continuum of force and proportionality principles.
  7. Prohibit shooting into, or from, moving vehicles.
  8. Direct the department to review these policies for compliance with national best practices at least annually.

Chief Randal Taylor said he hopes the new policy helps improve relationships with communities. IMPD also updated its use of force principles and policies for using stun guns, chemical spray and impact weapons.

"The adoption of these new use of force standards is a substantial milestone, one that I hope demonstrates our commitment to building community trust and developing stronger neighborhood partnerships to address violent crime," Taylor said in a press release.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the new policies aim to ensure IMPD is better serving the Indianapolis community.

IMPD consulted with Faith in Indiana and other community and advocacy groups to come up with the policies. The department is working to update the training curriculum and have all officers trained on the new policies by next month.

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