The Clearwater Police Department requires officers to use techniques and tactics that promote de-escalation. Clearwater Police Department policy stresses the importance of “Dialogue” to identify and resolve problems and conflict. Clearwater Police Department officers receive training in Mental Health First Aid, Crisis Intervention Training, and Implicit-Bias Training to improve the officer’s ability to communicate and resolve conflict in a peaceful way. Policy requires officers to take a position that creates time and distance so the officer can deploy de-escalation techniques.
Clearwater Police officers conduct scenario-based training three times a year. The scenarios include challenges requiring the officer to use tactics designed to de-escalate a situation.
The policies below specifically address requirements to de-escalate.
103.001 Policy/Use of Force - Employees of the Clearwater Police Department, while engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty, will use only the least amount of force reasonably necessary to affect their objective. The use of necessary force is permitted only after all other reasonable means of effecting compliance have failed. Unnecessary or excessive force shall not be tolerated.
103.25 Use of Force/Levels of Resistance – Officer Response Levels – Dialogue - A two-way, controlled, non-emotional communication between the officer and subject, aimed at problem identification and/or resolution.
103.25 Use of Force/Levels of Resistance - Officer Response Levels - Tactical Positioning or Relocation – An officer recognizes an officer safety threat or risk and positions himself or herself in an advantageous tactical location or safe zone to create time and distance between himself or herself and the threat/risk in order to summon and/or await additional resources (e.g. backup) and/or deploy de-escalation techniques.
103.701 The TASER is used to de-escalate, restrain, control, and/or subdue a violent or potentially violent person in a manner designed to minimize the possibility of danger or serious injury to both the subject and police personnel. Since the device causes complete disruption of the neuro-muscular system resulting in a loss of balance, there is a risk of additional injury to the subject (e.g. falling from high places; falling into traffic; or falling to the ground, etc.).
The Clearwater Police Department has a Use of Force Matrix (below) that identifies six levels of resistance and 16 responses broken into seven levels of response, all defined in Clearwater Police Department Policy 103.25 – Use of Force/Levels of Resistance. Officers are required by policy to evaluate the “subject/officer factors” and use the lowest level of appropriate response (below).
103.251 The degree of force depends on what a reasonable officer perceives as necessary under the circumstances. In making this assessment, the officer should consider:
- The severity of the crime at issue.
- Whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others.
- Whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.
- The totality of circumstances involved, including the officer and subject factors as outlined in this policy.
103.252 Additional factors that must be considered when making use-of-force decisions include:
- Size, age and weight of subject.
- Apparent physical ability of subject.
- Number of subjects present who are involved, or who may become involved.
- Weapons possessed by or available to the subject.
- Known history of violence by subject.
- Presence of innocent or potential victims in the area.
- Whether the subject can be recaptured at a later time.
- Whether evidence is likely to be destroyed.
- Whether the subject is exhibiting signs of excited delirium.
- Size, physical ability and defensive tactics expertise of the officer.
- Number of officers present or available.
- Immediate reaction in the case of sudden attack.
- Weapons or restraint devices available to the officer.
- Legal requirements.
- Agency policy.
The above listed subject and officer factors are not all inclusive. The officer(s) employing physical force must properly articulate any and all determining factors.
The below matrix is provided as a guide and is not entirely suited for every type of situation to the point where less force should be avoided. Force used (response levels) must always be the least amount necessary to overcome the resistance being offered while also taking into consideration the specific circumstances to include subject and officer factors. When a higher-level force is indicated as an option below, there may be circumstances where less force is appropriate, and officers should be aware of those circumstances and not rely solely on the below matrix.
The Clearwater Police Department policy bans the use of the carotid restraint in any situation that is not a deadly force encounter. As a result of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Clearwater Police Department is modifying its policy regarding neck constraints. The previous and revised policy is below:
102.006 Policy/Use of Carotid Restraint Technique - The intentional use of the carotid restraint technique is considered deadly force and officers are prohibited from using this method to control or subdue suspects or prisoners.
102.006 Officers are prohibited from utilizing any technique which compresses an individual’s airway or compromises blood flow to the brain (i.e. carotid restraint, chokehold, etc.). Such techniques are considered deadly force and shall not be utilized unless necessary during a deadly force encounter.
The Clearwater Police Department requires verbal warnings be given when possible. The department also requires warning prior to utilization of a TASER when practical.
102.003 Policy/Deadly Force - …If feasible, some warning must be given before deadly force is used.
The Clearwater Police Department does not permit an officer to discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle unless there is no other alternative. Policy also requires an officer to move or stay in a position of safety and not to place themselves in harm’s way of a moving vehicle.
102.004 Restrictions on the Use of Deadly Force - The use of a firearm or other means of deadly force shall not be permitted in the following circumstances: ….
(5) Officers should not discharge a firearm at or from a moving vehicle except as the ultimate measure of self-defense or defense of another when the suspect is using deadly force
102.005 Policy/Use of Firearms - The firing of a firearm in the direction of any person or any occupied vehicle shall be considered as deadly force.
102.051 The use of deadly force on a subject in a vehicle does not eliminate the threat or danger posed by a moving vehicle. When dealing with subjects in vehicles, officers shall employ all reasonable means available to move to an area of safety if the vehicle becomes a threat. When encountering a vehicle, officers shall use appropriate safety measures and shall not intentionally place themselves in harm’s way by standing or moving in front of or behind a vehicle or reaching inside an operating vehicle, unless it is tactically necessary to prevent the loss of life or injury to the officer or others.
102.003 Policy/Deadly Force - An officer of the Clearwater Police Department may use deadly force only as a last resort after all reasonably available lesser efforts have failed when there is a reasonable belief that such force is necessary to:
(1) Prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the officer or another person; or
(2) Affect the capture, or prevent the escape, of a person who has committed a felony which involved the use or threatened use of deadly force and whose freedom is reasonably believed to represent an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to the officer or other persons.
No distinction shall be made relative to the age of the intended target of deadly force. Self-defense, defense of others and the presence of an imminent threat to public safety shall be the only guidelines for employing deadly force. If feasible, some warning must be given before deadly force is used.
103.001 Policy/Use of Force - Employees of the Clearwater Police Department, while engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty, will use only the least amount of force reasonably necessary to affect their objective. The use of necessary force is permitted only after all other reasonable means of effecting compliance have failed.
The Clearwater Police Department currently requires employees to report misconduct. The department policy is general to all violations of laws, ordinances, or rules. The department has conducted scenario-based training reiterating the obligation of officers to intervene when they see a person using excessive force. As a result of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Clearwater Police Department is adding additional language in policy to reiterate the obligation of an officer to intervene when excessive force is observed.
213.50 Misconduct Known to Departmental Personnel - Employees knowing of other employees violating laws or ordinances or rules of the department, or lawful orders, where such violation may hinder the police purpose or bring embarrassment to the department, shall report same to his or her immediate supervisor.
Revisions to current policy (new language in red).
102.001 Policy/Use of Force - Employees of the Clearwater Police Department, while engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty, will use only the force necessary to affect their legal duty. The use of necessary force is permitted only after all other reasonable means of effecting compliance have failed. Unnecessary or excessive force shall not be tolerated. In the event a member of the agency witnesses unnecessary or excessive force, the member shall immediately intervene, summon medical assistance and/or administer medical treatment commensurate their level of training if needed, and notify a supervisor as soon as practical.
103.001 Policy/Use of Force - Employees of the Clearwater Police Department, while engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty, will use only the least amount of force reasonably necessary to affect their objective. The use of necessary force is permitted only after all other reasonable means of effecting compliance have failed. Unnecessary or excessive force shall not be tolerated. In the event a member of the agency witnesses unnecessary or excessive force, the member shall immediately intervene, summon medical assistance and/or administer medical treatment commensurate their level of training if needed, and notify a supervisor as soon as practical.
The Clearwater Police Department requires use of force to be reported when it involves pointing a firearm, the use of a takedown or higher, or results in any injury to a prisoner. The officer who uses force as described above is required to notify the on-duty supervisor, complete the appropriate police report, and document the use of force in the department’s “Blue Team” software. The use of force is then reviewed by the officer’s chain of command. This process is defined in Clearwater Police Department Policy 102.50 Documentation of Use of Force and 103.30 Documentation of Use of Force. This department has an Early Intervention Program that is triggered when officers meet a threshold of use-of-force incidents even when those uses of force are found to be incompliance. The department reports use-of-force data monthly and analyzes the data annually.
102 – Use of Force & Firearms
103 – Less Lethal Force
211 – Early Intervention Program
213 – Integrity Issues
Arrest & Use of Force Incidents
|Calls for Service||78319||75427||-3.7%|
|Use of Force Incidents||159||175||+10%|
|Minor (No Medical Treatment)||21||16
|Minor (Medical Treatment)
|Minor (No Medical Treatment)||31||51||+65%|
|Minor (Medical Treatment)
Use of Force Complaints
Use of Force Contrary to Policy Allegation (212.50)
Deadly Force Contrary to Policy (212.51)
Early Intervention Reviews
(does not include warrants)
|No Knock Warrants||0||0||0|