Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sheriff's Office reviews 52 use-of-force cases over 10 years

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 5:12 PM

click to enlarge Sheriff Bill Elder's internal committee gave his department high marks for observing use-of-force policies. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Sheriff Bill Elder's internal committee gave his department high marks for observing use-of-force policies.
El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder has released a study of the use of force within his Office, and it found that 11 of 52 cases reviewed were sustained in some form.

The study looked at use-of-force complaints from January 2006 through July of 2016.

Of the sustained cases, one deputy was terminated, three were demoted and suspended, one was demoted, two were issued letters of reprimand and four were counseled, meaning they did not receive disciplinary action.

Most of the cases, 31 complaints, made allegations against the law enforcement bureau (2 sustained) and 21 against detentions (9 sustained).

Citizens made 23 complaints, while 19 were made by employees and 10 by jail inmates.

In 2015, after Elder took office, KRW Associates conducted a "top-to-bottom assessment" of the Sheriff's Office and, according to the use-of-force study, found the department "effectively documented" use of force, including an evaluation by chain of command. But KRW also recommended changes. All have been adopted as policy.

See that and more in the report:

The report's conclusion:
When it comes to the use of force, continuous improvement can always be sought and the Sheriff's Office has a commitment to monitor, evaluate, review and objectively consider changes to policies, procedures and training. The Sheriff's Office exercises great restraint prior to the use of force and adheres to best practices. There is no evidence to suggest the use of force within the Sheriff's Office is arbitrary and capricious, rather the use of force is applied strictly in compliance with Sheriff's Office policy, the objectively reasonable standard as established in Graham v. Connor.
The report was produced by a panel comprised of Undersheriff Joe Breister, Lt. Glen Athey, Lt. Scott Deno, Lt. Cheryl Peck, Lt. Mike St. Charles and Deputy Ed Kafel.

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