Metro releases updated ‘use of force’ policy

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As protests continue across the country, police department’s “use of force” policies are gaining national attention. Here at home, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s was recently updated.

The 26-page document was updated on May 15th. The department says the most notable changes are de-escalation tactics, officer intervention, and communication.

Metro says input on the policy changes came from the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, academia and assessments from other police departments.

“Use of force” policies across the nation are being revisited, after the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police.

“For each incident that gains a national profile, there are countless others that never make the news,” said Attorney General Aaron Ford. “Those families, those communities, they remain unseen and they grieve alone.”

In an effort to be transparent, Las Vegas Metro Police released its policy. When it comes to de-escalation, the policy states officers should develop a plan before they arrive, coordinate how to approach someone in crisis, communicate calmly and with empathy.

Any officer observing another using excessive force is told to intervene, then report what happened.

On Friday, Governor Steve Sisolak, Attorney Aaron General Ford and other lawmakers gathered to speak about the relationship between law enforcement and the black community.

While Metro police was noted as taking progressive steps, lawmakers say more can be done. Steve Grammas with the Las Vegas Police Protective Association is interested in hearing those ideas.

“If we can get better and do better, we’d love to,” Grammas said. “I would like to see what people say about our policies on our agency, and see if there’s something we’re not doing, because we are really doing a lot.”

Metro’s use of force has been seen at recent protests including the use of pepper balls. That tactic is specifically outlined in the policy. It says they should only be used when authorized by an incident commander in response to an imminent threat and will not be used to disperse non-violent people.

Right now, ACLU Nevada is launching a new project to highlight protesters interactions with police. They plan to share that information with policymakers.

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