Chief Proposes Cops Use "Least Force Necessary"; "Union" Balks

On November 30, Chief Sizer distributed a draft revision to Portland's Use of Force Policy, calling for officers to use "the least force reasonably necessary." While this is a welcome idea stemming from the IPR/PPB Use of Force Report released in April (PPR #42), we only cautiously applaud the change until the entire Directive is available for review. The new rule jettisons the "continuum" of force that guided officers as to what was "reasonable" force, telling them instead to consider "a totality of circumstances." Sizer said she didn't involve the community, including her own "Chief's Forum," in the rewrite beacuse "the language can be quite technical." For their part, the Police Association fears they will be subject to more discipline under the rule and thus may not be reimbursed for lawyers in officer-involved shooting cases. Even a letter of reprimand could let the City off the hook for repaying PPA lawyers (Oregonian, December 1). This explains why the cops defend every shooting so vigorously.

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