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Acton Town News

Posted on: July 1, 2020

Acton Police Department Updates Use of Force Policy

PD Patch

Department Policies Now Align with all 8 Can't Wait Reforms.

Chief Richard Burrows is proud to share that the Acton Police Department has updated its use of force policy, requiring officers to intervene in situations where another officer is using unreasonable force, bringing the department fully in line with all reforms of the 8 Can’t Wait campaign.

The policy changes, effective immediately, state that every officer present at any scene where physical force is being used must stop, or attempt to stop, another officer when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required for the safety of the officers or the public.

Acton Police Officers already operate under a use of force policy that includes many aspects of the 8 Can’t Wait (https://8cantwait.org/) reforms, as do law enforcement agencies across Massachusetts. With the addition of the Duty to Intervene policy, the department’s use of force policy is now fully aligned with all 8 Can’t Wait reforms.

The 8 Can’t Wait campaign encourages departments to adopt restrictive use of force policies, including: banning chokeholds and strangleholds, requiring de-escalation, requiring officers to provide a verbal warning before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, implementing a duty to intervene, banning shooting at moving vehicles, requiring a use of force continuum and requiring comprehensive reporting of all incidents that resulted in the threat or use of force.

"The Acton Police Department is committed to upholding the highest standards of law enforcement and employing the best practices among our ranks," said Chief Burrows. "Updating our use of force policy to include the duty to intervene aligns the department with all 8 Can’t Wait reforms. This decision was made to protect the welfare of all people and hold those in positions of authority accountable. Our department is committed to serving our community in the best way that we can and we will continue to review all internal policies to ensure they have the best interests of our residents in mind."

In 2019, the Acton Police Department responded to approximately 30,000 calls for service. There were zero complaints for use of excessive force in 2019, and there have been zero such complaints so far in 2020.

The Acton Police Department holds state certification status under the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, a voluntary process that involves a self-assessment and evaluation by an outside team of reviewers that the department’s policies and procedures are in line with best practices not only in Massachusetts but nationally as well.

The Acton Police Department’s use of force policy can be found online here.

View the updated Use of Force Policy...
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