Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the City of Hood River joined communities across the nation this summer in signing the Mayor’s Pledge, a national effort to evaluate Use of Force policies, make any necessary changes and listen to the community. In reporting findings, the city continues to seek community input, hear concerns and answer questions.

“This review resulted in several policy modifications and confirmed that our department uses necessary force rarely and evenly,” Mayor Kate McBride stated. “The Hood River Police Department is committed to the principles of community policing including working together to solve problems and improve our community. I encourage all community members to reach out to me to share your perspective.”

Review of Use of Force Policies

The most significant change to Hood River’s Use of Force policies is the removal of the Carotid Control Hold from the Hood River Police Department Manual, never used in the nine-year study period. The other substantive changes relate to specific exclusions for Taser device use, which has been discouraged and rarely used.

Review of Use of Force Statistics

Use of Force was exercised in 53 of 119,213 calls for service (0.044 percent), or a little more than four incidents in 10,000 service calls from Jan. 1, 2011, to June 30, 2020. Of the total Use of Force incidents (79), the majority were physical (72), followed by Taser device use (7). Multiple incidents of Use of Force can occur on a single call to gain compliance of an individual. The review found most Use of Force incidents were related to resisting arrest, with approximately half involving subjects intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, or individuals with behavioral health issues.

“Use of Force” is defined by the International Chiefs of Police as the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” Excessive Force is force in excess of what a police officer reasonably believes is necessary. A Supreme Court decision (Graham vs. Connor, 1989) established objective reasonable standards for when and how much an officer can legally use force.

Department policies were reviewed by police Use of Force experts from City/County Insurance Services (CIS) along with a City committee composed of the Mayor, two council members, the City Manager, Police Chief and Lieutenant. A link to amended Use of Force Policies can be found at: cityofhoodriver.gov/police/use-of-force-review/.

HRPD and City Seek Community Feedback

The Hood River Police Department encourages the community to share concerns about community safety and community problems. The goals of engagement are to build relationships, build trust and to work together towards solutions. If you have feedback on a Hood River Police interaction, we want to hear from you. Please contact Lt. Don Cheli (D.Cheli@cityofhoodriver.gov, 514-387-5256 ext. 1066), City Manager Rachael Fuller (R.Fuller@cityofhoodriver.gov, 541-387-5252) or Assistant City Manager Will Norris (W.Norris@cityofhoodriver.gov, 541-387-5214). Mayor McBride can be reached at k.mcbride@cityofhoodriver.gov. For statistics and more information, visit cityofhoodriver.gov/police/use-of-force-review/.

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