Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 16, 2020

Eight isn’t enough

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Yesterday afternoon the City quietly updated the website to reflect a comprehensive policy review of the Alameda Police Departments policies.  The reviewed items mirror the 8 can’t wait project’s list of immediate actions that can be taken by local jurisdictions to remove some of the policies that — in other jurisdictions — have contributed to police killings of civilians.

Based on whoever reviewed Alameda’s policies it appeared that we only had two of the eight policies enacted in our city.

But based on the existing review it appears that some of the eight policies may have existed but not explicitly enough for a definitive stamp by an external organization.

So the two that Alameda was already cleared on were are the ones in bold.

  • Bans Chokeholds and Strangleholds
  • Requires De-escalation
  • Requires Warning Before Shooting
  • Requires Exhaust All Alternatives Before Shooting
  • Duty to Intervene
  • Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles
  • Has Use of Force Continuum
  • Requires Comprehensive Reporting

Here’s what the new policy review says about the others:

On Chokeholds and Strangeholds, it sounds like the reasoning is that because the use is not explicitly allowed in the APD policy manual that means that it is not allowed.  A larger read of this interpretation would mean that if there is any APD behavior observed that is not within the manual then it is not authorized and, therefore, could be a reprimand able offense.

The use of chokeholds, strangleholds, or carotid holds are not authorized at the Alameda Police Department and, therefore, these types of defensive techniques are not reflected in our policy manual.

Regarding De-escalation:

De-escalation is interwoven into the Department’s policies and procedures and is included in the Department’s policy on crisis intervention, civil disputes, and is our Department’s training foundation. Officers are expected to use conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques to stabilize the incident as appropriate.

Policy reference: 389.9, 466.6, 418.4, 466.5, 469.3

Regarding exhausting all alternatives before shooting:

Our policy requires that if an objectively reasonable officer would consider it safe and feasible to do so under the totality of the circumstances, officers should evaluate the use of other reasonably available resources and techniques when determining whether to use deadly force.

Policy reference: 300.4

Regarding shooting at moving vehicles, this is one that the language is not prohibited but is sort of a piggy back on exhausting all alternatives before shooting:

While our policy does not ban shooting at vehicles, it is fundamentally similar to Campaign Zero’s expectations. An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others.

Policy reference: 300.4.1

Regarding a Use of Force Continuum, this one, also not a direct answer to 8 Can’t Wait’s project:

Officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Policy reference: 300.3

Regarding the reporting of use of force:

Any use of force by a member of our department shall be documented promptly, completely, and accurately in an appropriate report.

Policy reference: 300.5

I don’t have time this morning to cross reference all the policy references in the manual but it’s clear, even through the review, that there is some work to do and maybe some fleshing out.  For example, it’s not clear how high the reporting goes when there is an incident of use of force.  This may be a case where just filing the report is not enough and that it should be reviewed by a panel of City staff outside of APD for assessment.  I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here.

Look, I understand that police departments, even APD, are feeling under scrutiny and maybe under attack right now.  But the reflex toward defensiveness isn’t a great look and certainly doesn’t feel like community service.  Right now people are, rightly, angry about what they see going on nationally.  And they want to make a change locally to ensure that the big issues that have kicked off this nationwide pushback doesn’t happen in the community in which they live.  APD should understand that people need to be able to be angry, to yell, to curse, and to want to make change.  They may not be able to parse their language to make exceptions and define “good” cops vs “bad” cops, but as people who have committed to community service, one would think that APD could put aside any knee-jerk defensiveness and understand where this anger, rage, and sadness is coming from and allow people the space to feel all of these emotions.  And the space to make changes, for the better, to work with APD to determine what we need as a community when it comes to law enforcement.  These conversations may be uncomfortable, but they’re certainly not bad.  Honestly Alameda is due to have a lot more uncomfortable conversations on a myriad of subjects and the timing feels right.


  1. I would add that the department will need to get comfortable with some of their colleagues losing their jobs, because a narrowed scope and budget means a lower headcount. The community gets to decide how we keep us safe, with our money.

    It’s hard and, as you say, overdue. The police are asked to do too much. Defunding them means getting their scope right.

    Comment by Gaylon — June 16, 2020 @ 9:54 am

  2. I agree there should be no chokeholds as well as warnings and deescalation. The police could have let the Atlanta shooting victim (who was a parolee who beat his kids and released because of Covid) run away and arrest him later.

    But the APD is already understaffed by 10 officers as AFD keeps adding staff. No social worker or psychologist can deal with a domestic dispute without police backup. The real alternative is more cameras, drones and monitoring of social media which many believes violates our rights.

    The best “reform” would be a two parent family and better civics education. “Magically” civil unrest would go down and peaceable assembly would come back.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — June 16, 2020 @ 10:17 am

    • You cannot help yourself can you? If anything you are reliable in that pretty much all of your comments are typical right wing bullshit. Like I said- your comments are not welcomed here. So why make them? Your assumption that the protests are because of bad parenting? Have you been paying attention to the news over the past decade? Its about police brutality against people of color and it has NOTHING to do with parenting. Its about the racism that has peculated its way into positions of power whether it be the police forces or our current racist president.

      Comment by john doe — June 16, 2020 @ 10:27 am

    • Just so you know, it’s been difficult for the police department to hire the people they need in the last few years. It’s becoming an undesirable occupation for many. And AFD is scheduled to retire something like 10 or 12 personnel this summer. So, yeah, they are hiring, but I don’t think AFD has been up to full strength in years. I somewhat agree with you about police backup for domestic disputes (and certain other calls as well). A domestic dispute can turn real ugly real fast if all that you are armed with is a clip board. But where the HELL do you get your ideas about two parent families and civic education magically solving civil unrest? Does a two parent family also solve Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze? I think not.

      Comment by abronto4900 — June 16, 2020 @ 11:08 am

      • oh, you mean the police officer who had 18 complaints filed against him , yea he’s the guy that killed the parolee. its so you to only address your own biases. as john doe said get your troll self outta here.

        Comment by trumpisaracist — June 16, 2020 @ 12:04 pm

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