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Berkeley Officials Implement New Policies for Police

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen
/
Creative Commons
Berkeley police on sproul plaza prior to a 2017 UC Berkeley protest.

 

Several changes are being made to create more transparency in police duties, according to Berkeleyside.

The new rules emphasize the preservation of life as the guiding principle. For the first time in its history, the Berkeley police department will be required to produce an annual use-of-force report that the public can review.

Policy changes also put in writing de-escalation techniques that officers are required to perform. Berkeley police officers receive Crisis Intervention Training, which emphasizes verbal de-escalation techniques. They’re instructed to redirect people suffering mental health crises to specialists. Berkeley police say mental health calls make up at least 35% of overall calls. 

Additionally, the new policy outlines situations where lethal action can be used. Each time an officer unholsters their weapon in the presence of another person, they are now required to document this as a use of force. 

Berkeley police Chief Andrew Greenwood pushed back against the city’s teargas ban, which the council called for last month. During public comment Thursday night, he requested the council  make exceptions for tear gas in certain situations. Ultimately, the council declined to implement most of Greenwood’s amendments. 

The new policies will be implemented on October 1.