NYPD Use Of Force Rules: NYC Use Of Force Rules

Published: October 1, 2015

NYPD Use Of Force Rules: NYC Use Of Force Rules, As police officers around the nation come under increased scrutiny for arrest tactics, the New York Police Department will announce widespread changes to its guidelines for the use of force.

The changes, which include a system to track nearly all instances in which force is used, comes on the same day that the inspector general of the NYPD issued a report scrutinizing how the department has historically handled complaints about excessive force.

The new policies-including revisions to the NYPD Patrol Guide and the creation of a single use of force incident report-will be laid out Thursday afternoon by Police Commissioner William Bratton.

While the changes have been in the works for months, incidents including the recent high-profile mistaken arrest of retired tennis star James Blake “showed its importance,” said a department official with direct knowledge of the new policies.

For the first time, the NYPD’s patrol guide will define all levels of force that an officer might use in encounters; prohibit force used to punish or retaliate; and set up guidelines for determining the “reasonableness” of using force, according to NYPD documents.

Additionally, a single use-of-force report will be used to better analyze incidents, and a formal hierarchies has been set to investigate complaints of excessive force.

The changes answer many of the complaints raised in Thursday’s report by the NYPD inspector general, a watchdog set up to take an independent look at the agency’s practices and policies.

Investigators determined that the lack of definition for force left many officers without guidance as to what should be reported, the report said. Officers also did not properly document incidents of force, and, in some instances, denied the use of force in instances that were substantiated by the independent Civilian Complaint Review Board, according to the report.

“In some instances, officers were documenting the use of force on some forms, but omitting it on others, leading to a pattern of inconsistency,” the report said.

NYPD officials said department unions were briefed on the changes and were told it was in an officer’s “best interest to put it on paper.”

Patrick Lynch, president of the NYPD union that represents police officers, said the new policy amounted to “reactive policing” and “more paperwork.”


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