City News

Lethal force should be last resort, new Madison police guidelines say

New standard operating procedures at the Madison Police Department aim to make the use of lethal force a “last resort.”

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

The Madison Police Department has changed their policy on using lethal forces, now requiring officers to deplete all other resources before the use of firearms.

City council ordered MPD this past May to change the way officers approach escalated situations, after a special committee on police policy and practices recommended amendments to its standard operating procedures.

The new policy requires MPD to update its policies in regards to officers’ use of force, both non-deadly and deadly, while also including text on an officer’s duty to mediate, moderate and maintain life.

Previously, standard operating procedures stated, “the purpose of deadly force is to stop the threat.” It also said officers had “a legal and moral obligation to use force wisely and judiciously.” The updates remove that language and urge officers to only use deadly force as a last resort.

Assistant Police Chief Vic Wahl regards the changes to policy as the creation of cohesion among larger departments, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, along with the International Association of Police Chiefs and the Police Executive Form.

“I think it just emphasizes that it’s an important part of our core values and how we do business,” he told the State Journal.

According to Jim Palmer, the executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the facts provided in every case shapes the officer’s reactions in uncontrollable situations. Some officers believe their training frames their choice to use firearms in the line of duty.

“These are critically important concepts and themes to reinforce in every officer,” Palmer told the State Journal. “The public benefit is to diminish the confusion that exists.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.