MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Nassau County Police Department’s refurbished use-of-force policy pushes de-escalation tactics, tracks the incidents involving physical force reviewed by top officials and limits the use of the chokehold.
But as CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, police unions are angry about the new rules, and say they could endanger officers’ lives.
Acting Nassau County police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter on Tuesday detailed the changes in the county’s new use of force manual, which goes into effect this coming Friday.
There are 15 changes to the policy. The new guidelines stress the use of intermediate weapons, such as Tasers and mace, when force must be used, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. The slapper, a piece of lead covered in leather, is now banned for use.
Krumpter said retractable batons can be used by officers if necessary.
“The department has over the last several years went to an extendable baton,” he said. “The baton is now carried on the gun belt.”
Krumpter said officers should also rely on new Tasers that automatically shut off after five seconds, reducing the chances of death.
The changes also include changes to the scope of the department’s Deadly Force Review Board and require the creation of a report any time an officer uses physical force. That allows the department to track data and spot trends and trouble spots.
Thomas Krumpter said the changes reflect a national evolution in law enforcement.
But angry union leaders derided the new policy, and pointed out that most officers have yet to even receive the Tasers that Krumpter was talking about.
“In three days, this policy becomes effective — in three days. And everyone on the street doesn’t have a Taser — only the people that have graduated the police academy in the last couple of years,” said Nassau County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President James Carver. “So again, where’s this training?”
Krumpter answered that training is costly and he has to live within his budget.
“The Tasers are being rolled out, and they’re being rolled out as quickly as we can do it economically,” he said.
Union leaders said that is not good enough.
“What happens to an officer that doesn’t have a Taser and gets in a situation where they’re now second-guessed for not using the Taser, and they didn’t even have a Taser to begin with?” he said.
Carver also said Taser training is mandated.
“We’re asking the commissioner to delay the implementation of the policy until all members have been fully trained in the taser,” he told 1010 WINS’ Darius Radzius. “When you issue a policy and you state that it becomes effective on a certain date and you don’t provide the members with the tools, in this case the taser, then how are they supposed to follow this new policy?”
Krumpter said the new rules are simply part of the new landscape for all police officers around the country. The debate is dividing the public as well.
“I feel like that they’re using their guns way too much, and killing too many young people,” one woman said.
But a man said, “Now, we’re tying the hands of police.”
Krumpter said despite the new rules, officers will still have the right to use deadly force if facing a suspect is threatening deadly force, TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.
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