Trust Completes Use of Force Policy Update with Help of Law Enforcement Community
The Trust recently completed an update of its Use of Force Model Policy, to ensure that the policy meets modern day best practices and legal standards, and is consistent with what is being taught to Rhode Island police officers in both pre-service and in-service trainings.
Over the years, The Trust has found that, in projects of this nature, bringing law enforcement agencies together to be ”a well-respected and effective way to help standardize practices among local police departments at the most contemporary and comprehensive level, so that needless liability can be avoided and lives safeguarded,” explained Paul Dutra, Trust Property/Liability Claims Manager. It is expected that all Trust Member police departments will adopt The Trust’s Use of Force Policy.
This time around, The Trust preliminarily convened a small core workgroup to serve in an advisory role, providing critical focus and comprehensive assessment of current best practices. This workgroup was made up of Rhode Island Police Officers Commission on Standards and Training (POST) certified subject matter experts along with a representative from the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission (RIPAC). Results of their collective efforts were then presented to The Trust’s Law Enforcement Initiatives workgroup, made up of representatives from various Rhode Island municipal and state police agencies, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, and Trust defense counsel, for collective discussion and adoption of changes. Careful attention was paid to ensure that the Policy dovetails effectively with that of both the in-state and national accreditation standards. Also of note, some of the changes impact The Trust’s Pursuit Model Policy, which is currently being updated to ensure consistency.
The Trust strongly believes in having a state-wide, uniform use of force policy. First, a state-wide uniform policy makes sense from a liability risk management standpoint, as it standardizes police use of force under current law. Second, whereas many Rhode Island police agencies have entered into mutual aid agreements, of one form or another, a uniform policy ensures that all officers who join in mutual aid operations will be making use of force decisions based on the same policy guidelines. “Law enforcement is changing, becoming an increasingly more challenging and litigious environment, which makes having a uniform use of force policy even more important,” said Paul.
“We are keenly aware of the fact that we could not do this as effectively without the participation of local law enforcement,” said Paul Brouillette, Loss Prevention Specialist, and former Warwick police sergeant. In fact, other risk sharing pools throughout the United States have commented as to how impressive it is that The Trust is able to assemble such full complement of police agencies from across the state to participate in these important policy reviews.
This effort represents a comprehensive update to the 2012 Model Policy. The policy was recently endorsed by POST.