Duty to Intervene and Duty to Report Excessive Force
The agency has a written directive that requires every officer, regardless of rank, to have a duty and responsibility to intervene with any other officer’s use of force that clearly exceeds agency directives and training regarding what is objectively reasonable under the circumstances. The agency’s written directive must also clearly state that all officers, regardless of rank, have a duty and responsibility to prevent the use of excessive force, and to report, in writing, any use of excessive force to a supervisor or the agency’s governing body, as applicable. This directive will be included in the annual Use of Force training. This directive applies to both sworn and non-sworn.
Officers shall promptly report those observations to a supervisor. If not done initially, the report to a supervisor shall be done in writing as well. The obligation to report remains in place even if the officer is successful in intervening in the use of force. Any failure to intervene and/or failure to report improper use of force shall be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.
Prohibition Against Chokeholds
The agency has a written directive that prohibits the use of a choke hold, carotid artery hold, or similar neck restraint, unless the officer reasonably believes the restraint is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to or the death of the peace officer or another person. Any officer using such force will cease immediately upon control of the subject (normally when the person has been handcuffed or no longer actively resisting) and begin the application of an appropriate medical response if needed. Officers are required to report these incidents through the process outlined in the agency’s use of force reporting policy.
Duty to Render Aid
The agency has a written directive that requires an officer who encounters an injured person while discharging the officer’s official duties to immediately and as necessary request emergency medical services personnel and, while waiting for emergency medical services personnel to arrive, provide first aid or treatment to the person to the extent of the officer's skill and training.
The officer is not required to request emergency medical services or provide first aid or treatment if making the request or providing the treatment would expose the officer or another person to a risk of bodily injury, or if the officer is injured and physically unable to make the request or provide the treatment.
Body Worn Camera
Texas Occupations Code §1701.655 establishes requirements for body worn camera policies for law enforcement agencies implementing a body worn camera program. The list below includes the items required to appear in your agency’s policy.
The policy must include:
Guidelines for when a peace officer should activate a camera or discontinue a recording currently in progress, considering the need for privacy in certain situations and at certain locations.
Provisions relating to data retention, including a provision requiring the retention of video for a minimum period of 90 days.
Provisions relating to storage of video and audio, creation of backup copies of the video and audio, and maintenance of data security.
Guidelines for public access, through open records requests, to recordings that are public information.
Provisions entitling an officer to access any recording of an incident involving the officer before the officer are required to make a statement about the incident.
Procedures for supervisory or internal review.
The handling and documenting of equipment and malfunctions of equipment.
A policy may not require a peace officer to keep a body worn camera activated for the entire period of the officer's shift.
A policy adopted under this section must be consistent with the Federal Rules of Evidence and Texas Rules of Evidence.
A policy must ensure that a body worn camera is activated only for a law enforcement purpose.
Two sample policies are provided below. The samples should be amended to fit any of your agency’s individual requirements.