LAS VEGAS, NV – The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada today presented the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) with proposed revisions to it’s “Post Use of Force Procedures.” Post Use-of-Force Procedures dictate how LVMPD handles the reporting of and investigation into incidents where force was used by an officer. Proper reporting procedures ensure officer accountability with regard to excessive force complaints.
After carefully reviewing LVMPD’s Reporting Procedures for use of force, the ACLU of Nevada reached two conclusions. First that LVMPD’s directives regarding an officer’s duty to report use of force incidents are unnecessarily narrow and vague. As a result, serious use of force incidents may go unreported. Second, LVMPD’s investigation procedures for officer-related use of force incidents are not consistent with national best practices.
All of the ACLU of Nevada’s proposed revisions are explained in detail in today’s memo to LVMPD. The ACLU of Nevada recommends that LVMPD amend its duty to report policy to make the duty more inclusive so officers are required to report any and all use of force incidents above unresisted handcuffing and where an officer draws and points their firearm at another person. The ACLU of Nevada also makes several recommendations regarding investigations into the use of deadly force, including: interviewing officers involved in deadly force incidents as soon as possible; videotaping all phases of interviews and interrogations in deadly force incidents; and launching concurrent criminal and administrative investigations immediately after an officer-involved shooting. In addition, the ACLU observes that one criminal and one administrative investigator should be appointed to conduct all the interviews in a deadly force incident; and details the evidence that should be collected and maintained in the investigative file for an officer-involved shooting.
In compiling this set of recommendations, the ACLU of Nevada evaluated post use of force and officer accountability systems from various police departments and law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, New Orleans, and Portland (Oregon) in order to recommend substantive revisions to the LVMPD Reporting Procedures. The ACLU referred to recommendations by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in several “patterns and practices” investigations from other jurisdictions. The ACLU also reviewed policy recommendations from the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Police Assessment Resource Center (“PARC”).
This is the second set of recommendations provided by the ACLU of Nevada to LVMPD after the ACLU of Nevada and the NAACP of Las Vegas submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting for a “patterns and practices” investigation of LVMPD. The first set of recommendations, submitted on March 26, covers LVMPD’s use-of-force procedures.