The Albuquerque Police Department has finished revising its use-of-force policies and officers will begin training on the new policies over the next quarter, according to authorities.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the changes have been approved by the Department of Justice, which is engaged in a settlement agreement to reform the city’s police department.
According to the Journal, city leaders anticipate the changes will result in fewer shootings by officers since they should have a better sense of when they can use less-lethal force rather than deadly force.
Less lethal options include stun guns, beanbag shotguns, 40-millimeter impact launchers or canine deployments.
There were 18 shootings by Albuquerque police officers last year and 10 of them were fatal.
The number caused DOJ attorneys and community stakeholders to raise concerns at a federal court hearing last month.
The Journal said the police department currently is at 100% primary compliance, 99% secondary compliance and 80% operational compliance with the reforms laid out in the court approved settlement agreement with the DOJ.
“We wanted officers to be clear on when they could use less lethal force,” said Superintendent of Police Reform Victor E. Valdez, who is a retired judge. “We found officers should be able to use less lethal force sooner than they were (formerly) able to under the previous policy. These revisions allow better protection to both the public and the officers when confronted with a violent individual.”
Police Chief Harold Medina said “our goal with these changes is to make sure that if de-escalation is not possible, we exhaust every tool available to apprehend offenders, only using a firearm as a last resort.”
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