BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (October 13) — During the Tuesday, October 13, 2020, meeting of the Greenfield City Board of Mayor and Aldermen, members unanimously approved an ordinance involving a new Use of Force Police Policy, specifying when deadly and non-deadly force is allowed, depending on the circumstances.
The standardized policy comes from Gov. Bill Lee’s office and the Commissioner for Homeland Security.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton assured the board the policy in no way ties the hands of police officers to do their jobs. In fact, he states it protects the City by providing a policy for them to follow that standardizes procedural protocols.
The purpose of the ordinance is to establish guidelines regarding all employees’ duty to intervene and report any act that violates law or policy.
The policy reads, “It is the policy of the Greenfield Police Department to value and preserve human life and to provide clear procedures to sworn officers regarding the use of force in the performance or their duties.
“The main responsibility of Department officers is to protect the life and property of citizens. In compliance with applicable law, officers shall use only the amount of force necessary and reasonable to accomplish lawful objectives and to control a situation, effect an arrest, overcome resistance to arrest, or defend themselves or others from harm. When force is necessary, the degree of force employed should be in direct relationship to the amount of resistance exerted, or the immediate threat to the officers or others.
It further states the use of force by officers must be carried out in a manner that does not violate their civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the Tennessee Constitution and applicable laws.
“Officers that use excessive or unjustified force degrade the confidence of the community they serve, undermine the legitimacy of a police officer’s authority, and hinders the Department’s ability to provide effective law enforcement services to the community.”
“If an officer of the Greenfield Police Department reasonably perceives that another member is committing, or about to commit, an unlawful or improper act, including but not limited to, acts of brutality, abuses of process, abuses of authority, or any other criminal act or significant violation of department policy or procedure, they have the legal, ethical, moral and departmental responsibility to intervene, stop and report such an act.”
The policy notes, “Officers using excessive or unauthorized force shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination, possible criminal prosecution, and/or civil liability. The use of force is only authorized when it is objectively reasonable and for a lawful purpose. Accordingly, the Department will thoroughly review and /or investigate all uses of force by officers to assure compliance with all legal requirements and this policy.”