Bellevue wants community input on an independent review of the Bellevue Police Department’s use of force.
After a year that put community policing practices and accountability in the forefront of national discussion, Bellevue hired a consultant, the Office of Independent Review Group (OIR), to review police use of force policy in Bellevue.
According to the report, OIR conducted an analysis of Bellevue’s police use of force policies and engaged the community in listening sessions in late-2020.
Despite the “defund the police,” movement that rang through metropolitan areas like Seattle, the OIR review engaged with and surveyed hundreds of Bellevue residents and claims that they received “overwhelmingly statements of full-throated support,” for BPD.
The OIR review makes 47 recommendations regarding police tactics, policies and accountability measures.
Some of the first recommendations were that the department implement a better defined standard for when to use force and that use of force is “proportional,” to the threat they face. It also included recommendations regarding better de-escalation tactics and techniques.
Neck and choke holds were recommended to be deauthorized as a use of force technique, a handful of very high profile police killings across the nation were a result of these techniques.
Shooting at and from moving vehicles was deemed as dangerous and “ineffective,”.
It was recommended that uses of police dogs to apprehend suspects are included in “force reports,” and that suspects bitten by dogs are immediately offered medical assistance.
The review also included recommendations in the name of data transparency, such as the release of certain use of force review documents and making body cam video footage more publicly accessible.
It also recommended an overhaul of the department’s policy regarding mentally ill people, calling the department’s current policy “outdated,” as it mostly addresses the threat disabled people may pose to officers without mentioning the involvement of the BPD’ crisis response team.
Bellevue is requesting community input and feedback through a survey which can be found here: https://www.engagingbellevue.com/city-council-listening-sessions.
The survey will be open until Friday (Feb.19).