8 Can’t Wait Questions Answered
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office received numerous inquiries from citizens regarding the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign. We believe our policies do align with the goals of this effort. Specifically, these are the 8 recommendations and our related policies:
Ban on Chokeholds and Strangleholds
The carotid control hold is not authorized and members of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office are prohibited from using neck and carotid restraints in all circumstances.
It is the ultimate objective of every law enforcement encounter to avoid or minimize injury.
YCSO recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting deputies with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires monitoring, evaluation and a careful balancing of all interests.
Every year we hold de-escalation training in our use of force scenarios, firearms and Taser scenarios, and mental health training. Deputies also attend Crisis Intervention Training and Tactical communication training with an emphasis on de-escalation.
Here are some de-escalation techniques that can be found in our policy manual:
- Introduce themselves and attempt to obtain the person’s name.
- Be patient, polite, calm, courteous and avoid overreacting.
- Speak and move slowly and in a non-threatening manner.
- Moderate the level of direct eye contact.
- Remove distractions or disruptive people from the area.
- Demonstrate active listening skills (e.g., summarize the person’s verbal communication).
- Provide for sufficient avenues of retreat or escape should the situation become volatile.
Responding deputies generally should not:
- Use stances or tactics that can be interpreted as aggressive.
- Allow others to interrupt or engage the person.
- Corner a person who is not believed to be armed, violent or suicidal.
- Argue, speak with a raised voice or use threats to obtain compliance.
Requiring Warning Before Shooting
Our policy manual reads, “Where feasible, the deputy shall, prior to the use of force, make reasonable efforts to identify themselves as a peace officer and to warn that deadly force may be used, unless the deputy has objectively reasonable grounds to believe the person is aware of those facts.”
Requiring Exhausting Other Means Before Shooting
This Is addressed in policy and law.
When determining whether to apply force and evaluating whether a deputy has used reasonable force, a number of factors should be taken into consideration, as time and circumstances permit. These factors include but are not limited to the availability of other reasonable and feasible options and their possible effectiveness (Penal Code § 835a).
Deputies shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the deputy at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose (Penal Code § 835a).
Duty to Intervene
Any YCSO Deputy present and observing another Deputy using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. A deputy who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor.
Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles
Our policy tells us that shots fired at or from a moving vehicle are rarely effective. YCSO Deputies should move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants. A Deputy should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the Deputy reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the deputy or others.
Deputies should not shoot at any part of a vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle.
Require Use of Force Continuum
Continuums do not require officers start with one level of force before moving to another. Our policies require Deputies use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and totality of the circumstances. Deputies shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and circumstances perceived by the Deputy at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
Given that no policy can realistically predict every possible situation a deputy might encounter; deputies are entrusted to use well-reasoned discretion in determining the appropriate use of force in each incident.
Requiring Comprehensive Reporting
Our Use of Force reporting requirements are as follows:
Any use of force by a member of this office shall be documented promptly, completely and accurately in an appropriate report, depending on the nature of the incident. The deputy should articulate the factors perceived and why he/she believed the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances. To collect data for purposes of training, resource allocation, analysis and related purposes, the Office may require the completion of additional report forms, as specified in office policy, procedure or law.
The following incidents shall be documented using the appropriate approved report:
a. Anytime a deputy points a firearm at any person
b. Any use of force against any person by a member of this office
c. Any firearm discharge