Nebraska Law Enforcement Has Until January To Adopt Response Policy | national news



Almost 17 months after George Floyd’s murder, the reform measures introduced in the Nebraska Legislature that were prompted by Floyd’s death and the calls to action that followed are beginning to take effect.

On Friday, the Nebraska Crime Commission voted to approve a model response policy that aims to prevent incidents like the one that led to Floyd’s death, requiring law enforcement officers to step in and report the excessive force.

State law now requires every law enforcement agency in Nebraska to adopt the Crime Commission model policy or develop its own response policy by January 1.

The change stems from LB51, a police reform bill introduced by Omaha Senator Steve Lathtrop and approved in April. The bill is the result of testimony from more than 200 people during two days of hearings last summer amid calls for nationwide police reform after Floyd’s death.

“After the death of George Floyd, we had a debate in this country as to whether we have a problem with individual law enforcement officers or do we have a problem with agencies,” Lathrop said earlier this week. year.

“Really, I think this bill addresses both concerns,” he added.

The commission’s policy model requires an officer to intervene verbally or physically when another law enforcement officer – regardless of agency – uses a level of force that exceeds what an officer “would have”. reasonably need to use in the situation ”.

It also requires officers to report cases of excessive force to agency supervisors “as soon as possible”. If the two officers work for different agencies, the policy requires that the supervisors of both be alerted to the excessive force incident.

The policy establishes a five-step process for investigating each report and ensuring the protection of the assessor.

It is not known how many state law enforcement agencies already have a response policy in place. Don Arp, the executive director of the Crime Commission, said the organization is not yet tracking which agencies are and are not.

The Lincoln Police Department last August implemented its own intervention policy, although it appears to require a higher threshold to force intervention.

LPD officers have a duty to intervene when they witness a “criminal act committed by an employee”. Politics, described in the agency’s standards of conduct, also requires officers to report violations, but does not mention protections.

“In the 21 years that I have been here, Lincoln Police officers have always been held to a higher standard,” Lincoln Police Union President Brad Hulse told The Journal Star. “Long before any of this happened we were taught, you know, ‘You see something, say something. It’s your job to take care of each other.’”

Yet without explicit protection against retaliation and the requirement of a “criminal act”, it is not clear whether LPD’s standards of conduct go as far as the Crime Commission’s model policy to ensure intervention. .

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office does not yet have a policy in place, Sheriff Terry Wagner said, although he announced on Wednesday that the agency had been accepted into the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement project, an initiative national training program for agencies committed to creating a culture of peer intervention.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner

The project aims to provide “practical and active observation strategies and tactics” to interns with the aim of preventing misconduct, the sheriff’s office said.

Wagner called the initiative “another great tool to put in our toolbox” as the agency navigates a new era of policing. The Sheriff’s office examined after video showed employee grabbing woman by her braids during a clash with protesters in May 2020.

The protests were then in response to Floyd’s death, which Wagner cited as an example of the type of conduct the sheriff’s office hopes to avoid with its new training initiative.

“Excessive force would be a good (example),” Wagner said Wednesday. “That’s kind of one of the things about the George Floyd case – why didn’t these officers intervene?”

“If you see a member of Parliament making an arrest in a dangerous manner, without properly handcuffing, intervene,” he added, describing what the training aims to teach its participants. “Say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do things differently.'”

Wagner said he expected the sheriff’s office to have a written intervention policy in place by January 1.



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