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Originally published December 17, 2013 at 7:40 PM | Page modified December 18, 2013 at 7:47 AM

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Highlights of new Seattle police use-of-force policy

Key components of the policy include officers carrying at least one less-lethal device and reporting all but minimal force.


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• Officers shall use force only when necessary and “with minimal reliance upon the use of physical force.”

• While force is sometimes unavoidable, officers should not precipitate the unnecessary use of force.

• Officers shall use only the degree of force that is objectively reasonable and proportional to the threat or resistance.

• Through “advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics,” officers shall seek to de-escalate confrontations.

• Officers must carry at least one less-lethal device, such as a Taser, pepper spray, a “bean bag” round or impact device that is unlikely to cause death but potentially could.

• All but minimal force must be reported, including the “intentional pointing of a firearm at a subject.”

• It is inappropriate to use force to punish or retaliate against people; or against people who verbally confront officers; or against handcuffed or restrained individuals.

• Supervisors will be required to review and screen use of force.

• A new Force Investigation Team (FIT) will look into highest-level uses of force, as well as officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and serious assaults on officers.

• The Use of Force Review Board is formally incorporated, with the responsibility to review high-level uses of force and identify trends or deficiencies regarding policy, training, equipment or tactics.

— Steve Miletich



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