The following is the Position of the Denver Sheriff’s Department FOP Lodge 27 in regards to the politically motivated, dangerous and unreasonable “Use of Force” policy recently adopted by the Department.
Brothers & Sisters of the Denver Sheriff’s Department,
By now you have all heard about the new Use of Force policy that has been created for the DSD. We have reviewed the policy along with our FOP lawyers and have come to the conclusion that the FOP cannot generally support this policy and that we believe it puts Deputies, inmates, and the public at greater risk. The creation of this policy is a matter of serious public concern and I must say that the FOP is yet again disappointed in the administration for acting in a way that is more about bad politics than good policy.
It is clear that this new policy is designed to allow them to unfairly discipline Deputies when it fits in with their political agenda, whether or not the Deputy has done anything wrong. Anyone who has experience as a law enforcement officer knows that use of force situations often evolve rapidly with officers making split second decisions. This policy requires Deputies to apply an ambiguous and overly complicated process of analysis before deciding to use force. Then you must be able to articulate in your report how you considered all the factors before using force. It even requires this for anyone who witnesses a use of force, whether or not they actually observed any part of the force used. This is a situation that is fraught with pitfalls for Deputies.
It is this type of contrived policy making coming from persons without law enforcement experience that is at the heart of why rank and file DSD doesn’t trust the administration. The policy clearly admits that it is a deviation from state law, federal law, and even the case law of US Supreme Court. Deviating from established law is a formula for disaster and increased litigation.
The policy makes it easy to create reasons for disciplining deputies in any situation where the administration desires to impose discipline in any use of force incident, regardless of whether or not the deputy would be justified under the law in using force. This will only result in a further erosion of trust and confidence of deputies’ in the management and create cases that will cause the public to view deputies in an increasingly negative light. It seems like this administration is hell bent on making Denver Deputies look bad.
As always we advise all members to contact an FOP attorney when you become aware that you are involved in an investigation. Even if they tell you that you are only a witness. We have seen too many Deputies go into I.A. as a witness and leave as a subject so it is always best take an attorney with you from the beginning. The FOP is here to fight for you and we will continue to regardless of this new policy.
Mike Jackson, FOP Lodge 27 President