SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced new policies on de-escalation and an officer's duty to intervene.
Mayor Faulconer said the changes come three weeks after he called for a series of public meetings for feedback on community and police relations.
“These policies are meant to protect the officer as much as the subject and prevent escalation whenever possible before force is used,” he told reporters.
The first of SDPD'S two new stand-alone policies requires officers, when safe and reasonable, to use techniques that can resolve situations either through lower levels of force or no force at all.
The second new stand-alone policy requires officers to step in if another officer is using unreasonable force and mandates that they report the incident to a supervisor.
“Let me be clear. It's not as though the SDPD was operating without de-escalation tactics before but now the department has separate, expanded stand-alone policies that don't just suggest de-escalation, they require it,” added Mayor Faulconer.
“It's an absolute. It's a mandate that if an officer sees an officer using force that is unreasonable for the obstacle that they're trying to overcome, that the officer must intervene,” said Chief Nisleit.
Samantha Jenkins with the Community Advisory Board on Police Practices and NAACP San Diego told reporters, “This new level of built-in accountability will hopefully usher in a new culture of policing in San Diego.”
“We thank God for everyone that's been a part of this. Community, keep speaking. We hear your voice,” added Bishop Dr. William Benson with the Total Deliverance Worship Center.
Chief Nisleit said these changes are a step in the right direction but the department will continue to look at best practices across the nation and how officers can continue to best serve this city.