Duluth police support 8 Can't Wait policies | www.WDIO.com

Duluth police support 8 Can't Wait policies

Updated: August 06, 2020 04:22 PM

In light of the mistrust of police that's spanning our country, Duluth police are making statements about use of force.

They support and practice the 8 Can't Wait policies, which include:

1) Ban chokeholds and strangeholds

2) Require de-escalation

3) Require warning before shooting

4) Requires exhaust all alternatives before shooting

5) Duty to intervene

6) Ban shooting at moving vehicles

7) Require use of force continuum

8) Require comprehensive reporting

Chief Mike Tusken explained more on Monday. For use of force training, it's not just a multiple choice quiz. "It's scenario based with actors. So we have the context of reality. That also helps us. Then the officers are debriefed afterwards," he said.

For reporting, they use software. "We were able to look at an officer using a taser too many times, and were able to identify that, retrain, and address and change the behavior," Tusken shared.

They've never trained on chokeholds.

Most important in their training, he said, is the use of de-escalation. "It's giving space to have a voice. It's the cadence and distance. And sometimes it's negotiation. Ultimately, it's your goal to get voluntary compliance," Tusken said.

Archie Davis, chair of the Citizen Review Board, said he appreciate the de-escalation that Duluth uses. "It's the most powerful I've seen, compared to the many places I've been. They're not using weapons. They're using verbal style judo," he said.

Still, he said he's felt intimidated by some police action.

Mayor Emily Larson has signed the pledge through the Obama Foundation to address use of force policies. 

Some leaders in Minneapolis are pushing for defunding or dismantling the police department there.

Davis does not see the same push and anger here. "I think we're further advanced, even though they are a larger city. The way you change things, in my life, has been to generate policies that work for all. Communities of color, who are targeted the most."

Larson said she is watching and listening to the conversations about defunding police, but acknowledges that it would look different in different communities. "A budget is a moral document. It will demonstrate your values. We will be having community conversations, about our sense of values, who we are and who we are not, and a reality check is where the budget is and where do we want to make those investments."

The city is facing a major budget crunch because of COVID-19.

She said you can report problems with the police to the Citizen Review Board or the state Human Rights Office or the city of Duluth Human Rights Officer.

Gary Anderson, president of the Duluth City Council, said, "We will continue to look at ways to create a police department that reflects health and wellness and safety of our whole community. Clearly we have a lot of work to do."

Councilor Renee Van Nett said there are two openings on Citizen Review Board, and she encourages people to apply.

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