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Report recommends changes for Metro's use-of-force policies

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Updated: 11/17/2012 9:24 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) – The federal review of Metro’s use-of-force policies is complete, and the report delivers 35 new findings and 40 new recommendations, according to a report released this morning by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

After 6 months of conducting its review and collaboratively working with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the CNA Corporation -- which helped with the investigation and preparation of the report -- and the COPS Office documented 40 LVMPD reforms regarding use-of-force policies and other areas related to officer-involved shootings, according to the 158-page report.

Officer-initiated stops are more likely to result in a shooting of an unarmed suspect than any other type of contact.

Recommendation: LVMPD should conduct uniform training on the legal parameters of officer-initiated contacts (e.g., consensual stops, investigative detention) throughout the department, starting with proactive entities such as the Gang Crimes Bureau. LVMPD has created training videos on constitutional policing issues. LVMPD should continue to incorporate additional training on this topic into scenario-based and role-playing training modules.

The new Use of Force Policy is comprehensive; however, the format is cumbersome and not structured in a clear and concise manner that allows officers to quickly apply guidance in the field.

Recommendation: LVMPD should separate its Use of Force Policy into several smaller, specific policies. This should include a core policy that serves as the foundation for the other related policies. Examples of stand-alone policies include rifles, shotguns, and other firearms; ECDs; less-lethal shotguns; batons; OC spray; and other less-lethal weapons.

Metro de-escalation training is not a requirement and does not include an evaluation component.

Recommendation: LVMPD should establish an annual requirement for officers at the rank of sergeant and below to undergo a minimum number of hours of de-escalation training and formalize assessments of de-escalation tactics. LVMPD should also devote one quarter of its defensive tactics training to de-escalation.

Metro needs to better manage multiple-officer situations. Tactical errors and fatalities are more prevalent when multiple officers are on the scene.

Recommendation: Metro should ensure that supervisors and officers are prepared to handle multiple officer situations in the context of deadly force. It should use reality-based incident command scenarios to train supervisors and officers on the management and direction of multiple officers during a critical incident.

Metro developed a Force Investigation Team model in late 2010. In April 2012, citing manpower issues, the Robbery and Homicide Division stopped the FIT model of one squad handling all officer-involved uses of deadly force. They returned to a process of all Homicide squads handling the investigations on a rotating basis.

Recommendation: Metro should re-establish a specialized group of investigators designated to conduct comprehensive deadly force investigations, in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office, that are legal in nature.

We will have updates throughout the day here and on News 3.
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