Today, Mayor Indya Kincannon announced updates to the Knoxville Police Department’s Use of Force Policy to make it consistent with the 8 Can’t Wait campaign. The campaign outlines eight specific use-of-force policies to reduce police violence.
Mayor Kincannon said, “This review is just one step in my commitment to take a comprehensive look at public safety in Knoxville. This is not a one-way conversation. Our efforts must be intentional and include meaningful community input.”
“KPD is a well-trained, professional and accredited police department that was already practicing the majority of the recommendations of the 8 Can’t Wait campaign. There were, however, areas where improvements were needed in the Use of Force policy and in the Code of Conduct.”
Police Chief Eve Thomas says the new policies have now been distributed to every officer and agrees this is another step in the right direction,
“I am proud of the work and attention that our Use of Force Committee devoted to this review,” she said.
“As part of our accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), we are constantly reviewing and fine-tuning our policies to ensure they meet the highest possible standard. A tremendous amount of work over the years has gone into the continued evolution of the Use of Force policy in particular, which provided a good starting place for this review. We feel that these changes strengthen KPD policy and affirmatively address the concerns of the community.”
The most notable change is that the KPD has removed the Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, or bi-lateral neck restraint, as an approved response to resistance. The LVNR, which is not considered a chokehold and does not restrict airflow when applied, was the only approved neck restraint previously allowed within the most recent KPD policy.
The KPD will also require officers to report instances when they intentionally point a firearm directly at a subject, even if the weapon is not fired.
In addition, clear, specific language requiring KPD employees to intervene in situations when an officer is using, or is about to use, force in violation of policy has been added to the KPD Code of Conduct and the department’s Use of Force Policy.
These changes and other revisions can be found in the new policy posted at www.knoxvilletn.gov/kpd. They are effective immediately.