Reno Police Department Updates Use Of Force Policy

Jun 6, 2020

The Reno Police Department, or RPD, has announced some changes to its use of force policy in response to community input. The changes are in light of protests against police brutality, both locally and nationally, following the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was killed while in police custody after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes, even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.

The City of Reno released a statement Friday sharing the department's updated policy, which states:

It is the Policy of the Reno Police Department to protect human life and human rights. Officers must use only the amount of force that is Objectively Reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control, while protecting the safety of the Officer and others. The Officer must only use that force which a reasonably prudent Officer would use under the same or similar circumstances. Officers are expected to apply force in accordance with departmental training.

The policy goes on to explain that in order to practice “Objectively Reasonable” force, officers must evaluate several circumstances, including the severity of the crime, the level of resistance an individual is presenting, and the amount of danger posed to officers and the community.

Techniques intended to restrict an individual's breathing or airway are prohibited, as well as shooting at or from vehicles. More broadly, the document instructs officers to consider other options and warnings before using deadly force in order to de-escalate a situation.

There's also guidance on peer intervention, stating that every officer is required to stop or attempt to stop another officer who is inappropriately applying force, which may include force that is excessive or applied longer than necessary.

“It is important for our community to know that many of our use of force practices were previously in place,” Acting Reno Police Chief Tom Robinson said while explaining that these practices are now written as policy.

Various Reno officials and departments have received thousands of questions in the past few days regarding RPD’s policies.