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MTS updates use of force policies to ban carotid restraint, require de-escalation

Posted at 2:13 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 17:14:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has updated its use of force policy to include a ban on the carotid restraint technique among other new policies.

MTS said the agency is training officers and has started testing the policies, which include:

  • Banning carotid restraints and choke holds, prohibiting the use of knee pressure on the neck, throat or head
  • A requirement that the use of force to be proportional to the seriousness of the offense
  • Requiring officers to intervene if witnessing excessive force by another employee
  • A requirement to use de-escalation tactics when feasible (de-escalation training was previously provided, but now written into policy)
  • Requiring a warning prior to the use of force

MTS will also begin its fare diversion pilot program on Sept. 1 to help riders caught without fare avoid court fees or a citation.

RELATED: San Diego MTS steps up efforts to keep riders, workers safe

The new policies come after several local agencies moved to end the use of the carotid restraint technique and reform their own use of force policies.

"These reforms to the use of force policy are another step in our effort to comprehensively restructure our approach to transit safety. We will continue working to ensure the dignity and safety for our passengers," said MTS Chair Nathan Fletcher said in a release.