In light of recent events across the country involving law enforcement officers and officials, some residents and stakeholders have inquired about the City’s policies and procedures, specifically as it relates to use of force practices that may result in police violence.
With an increasing amount of attention on the nationwide public safety crisis and “8 Can’t Wait” campaign, staff has compiled a list of responses to questions that have been asked directly from residents. The responses include comprehensive Missouri City Police Department policy information that Police Chief Mike Berezin presented to City Council at the Tuesday, June 23 Special Meeting.
Does the training of Missouri City law enforcement officers permit them to choke a suspect until they are unconscious?
Per section 20-07, V.C. 1. 1. of the police policy, choke holds or carotid artery neck restraints are prohibited unless the officer involved is justified in the use of deadly force. Any officer using such force will cease immediately upon control of the subject, normally when the person has been handcuffed or no longer actively resisting, and begin the application of an appropriate medical response if needed. Officers are required to report these incidents through the process outlined in the agency’s use of force reporting policy.
Do MCPD policies have provisions that officers who witness excessive force without intervening will also be held responsible?
Per section 10-01, V.B. 8. of the police policy, any employee present and observing another employee, regardless of rank, using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, safely intervene by verbal and/or physical means to prevent the use of excessive force. Chief Berezin added: “Not only will the person who misapplied force or used excessive force be in trouble, but he or she who failed to do something about it and/or failed to report will also get in trouble.”
What is the Missouri City Police Department doing in terms of de-escalation?
MCPD has a mandatory Taser and weapons training every year and all use of force of training of this type involves de-escalation measures. “We do all we can to encourage someone to comply without us having to touch them,” said Chief Berezin. “Police officers would prefer not to be required to use any type of force. If we can talk them into the police car, then we’ll have them do that.”
How can residents know what actions are taken by police officers?
MCPD has an open data initiative which lists actions taken by officers in the City. To view the reports, visit the City website via this link: www.missouricitytx.gov/797/Open-Data-Initiative.
Does the MCPD do everything they can before using deadly force?
Yes. Chief Berezin stated to Council: “We do all we can before using force, much less deadly force. We train frequently, make sure we hire the proper people and make sure they know they are part of the community.”
To watch the full discussion from the Tuesday, June 23 Special Meeting, click this link: https://youtu.be/2wNqCzGCnpc.
For more information about Missouri City, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).