New federal directive will result in review of local police use of force policies

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – There will now be a new certification process for police use of force policies.

Use of force policies in hundreds of Illinois law enforcement agencies are undergoing a new level of scrutiny. A federal directive issued earlier in November says that agencies’ use of force policies must be certified by Jan. 31, 2021, if they wish to continue receiving federal discretionary grants.

The directive applies to municipal police departments, sheriffs’ offices, and law enforcement agencies in other places such as park districts, colleges and universities, and other entities that have their own police departments, according to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

The U.S. Attorney General has designated the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, through its Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, as the primary certifying body to review the use of force policies. The attorney general has similarly designated 33 other state-level accreditation bodies to do the same work in other states. Also on the Designated Independent Credentialing Bodies list is the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, which can be called upon by the Illinois Chiefs if they need assistance, according to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

In Illinois, every agency applying for this certification with the Illinois Chiefs will have 14 different aspects of their use of force policies reviewed. Each must demonstrate, at a minimum, that its policy complies with all state and federal laws and local ordinances and prohibits the use of chokeholds except when deadly use of force is allowed by law, according to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Chokeholds have been banned in Illinois since 2015, so this will provide an opportunity to review whether agencies are in compliance,” Ed Wojcicki, ILACP executive director said.

The Illinois Chiefs’ assessment team will also review de-escalation techniques, certain performance management tools and community engagement. The Department of Justice refers to these as “Safe Policing Principles,” which include:

"• Termination of Use of Force policies; that is, when to terminate force

• Duty to intervene policies

• Training Protocols on Use of Force and De-Escalation

• Appropriate Medical Care Policies

• Warn Before Shooting Policies

• Shooting at or from a Moving Vehicle Policies

• Warning Shots Policies

• No-Knock Warrant Policies

• Early Intervention Systems policies, procedures, and training protocols

• Hiring of Personnel policies, procedures, and training protocols

• Community engagement plans that address the particular needs of the community"

More information about this process can be found here. A Department of Justice fact sheet for implementation of this federal use of force certification can be found here.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.


November 18, 2020 at 07:15AM

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