Columbia police expand 'use of force' documentation

Thursday, April 15, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department has announced new procedures for "use of force" reporting.

The new procedures went into effect April 1 and require officers to document on a form, in addition to the existing standards:


Related Media

  • Handcuffing when an arrest is not made
  • Pointing a firearm at a person
  • Any physical force used to overcome resistance

"Historically, we  have vigorously reported some aspects of the force we use, but not others," Deputy Chief Tom Dresner said. "Even though ... deadly force is not deadly force until the trigger is pulled, there are situations where we sometimes point firearms at people but don't pull the trigger, and we felt it was important to document that too."

Burton adopted 52 guidelines for Taser use, training, internal oversight and medical care for people shot with a Taser from the Police Executive Research Forum in April 2009. The adoption came after a large community push headed by the Coalition to Control Tasers.

The original use of force situations that officers had to report were:

  •  Baton usage
  •  Firearm usage
  •  Motor vehicle accident
  •  Motor vehicle pursuit
  •  Pepper spray usage
  •  Strikes
  •  Taser usage
  •  Other uses of force

"We're constantly analyzing what we do and are trying to measure ourselves against best practices for law enforcement," Dresner said.

The change is a part of a push by Police Chief Ken Burton to attain accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The Columbia Police Department is not currently accredited, nor has it ever been. The department began the process in the early 1980s, but didn't complete it, Dresner said. Since Burton's arrival, policies in all departments are being rewritten to adhere to CALEA standards, according to the news release.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.