Goodyear Mayor and Police Chief Discuss Senseless Killing of George Floyd
Mayor Lord recently invited Goodyear’s new police chief, Santiago Rodriguez, to her house to talk about something very important. The senseless killing of George Floyd, policies of the Goodyear Police Department, and where our community and country goes from here.
In addition, the city has received inquiries about how the Goodyear Police Department’s policies align with the “8 Can’t Wait” initiative, which seeks to analyze and reform policing strategies in eight critical areas, nationwide. These focus areas are listed below along with an explanation of how Goodyear’s policies align with those areas. Goodyear’s use of force policies can also be viewed here and have been in place for many years.
City of Goodyear leadership is committed to working with the public to ensure that what happened to George Floyd, never happens again.
1. Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, through communication, maintaining distance, slowing things down, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.
De-escalation is discussed in six of the department’s policies. De-escalation is not expressed as a requirement prior to a use of force incident, but is required by the policy as soon as the situation changes (i.e. handcuffing, control of subject, etc.). Each of the items listed is documented in multiple mandatory training classes each year. We have conducted specific training in Realistic De-Escalation and Implicit Bias, and currently have the highest per capita number of officers who have attended a weeklong Crisis Intervention Training in the west valley. This course expressly covers each of these areas.
2. Prohibiting officers from using maneuvers that cut off oxygen or blood flow, including chokeholds or carotid restraints, which often result in unnecessary death or serious injury.
The Goodyear Police Department does not train or permit chokeholds or carotid restraints.
3. Require officers to intervene and stop excessive or unnecessary force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.
Goodyear policy states the following with regards to this issue. “Any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intervene to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law shall promptly report these observations to a supervisor.”
4. Restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.
Goodyear policy reflects this and only permits such action when “there are no other reasonable means to avert the threat.”
5. Limit the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance and specific characteristics such as age, size or disability.
Goodyear policy reflects this in the section titled “Factors used to determine the reasonableness of force” and under “Types of Force”. This portion of the policy indicates when different types of force are appropriate based on the situation.
6. Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.
Goodyear policy allows the use of deadly force specifically based on the Supreme Court cases of Graham vs. Connor and Tennessee vs. Garner that dictate that the use of deadly force must be “objectively reasonable.” If it is “objectively reasonable” to use deadly force, then other types of force have been precluded.
7. Require officers to give verbal warning, when possible, before using serious force such as shooting, tasing, or pepper spraying someone.
Goodyear policy, in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee vs. Garner, requires officers to provide a verbal warning to precede the use of deadly force, where feasible. With regards to the Taser device, policy states that a verbal warning should precede its application, unless it would otherwise endanger the safety of officers or when it is not practicable due to the circumstances.
8. Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force (e.g., pointing a gun at a person).
Officers are required by policy to document any use or threatened use of force in all cases. In lower levels of force, this documentation is reviewed by at least one supervisor. In cases of deadly force, canine use, use of a Taser, baton or pepper spray and strikes, the documentation is reviewed through the officer’s chain of command.
Additionally, the Goodyear Police Department has implemented several measures to ensure accountability and fidelity to the department’s policies while protecting our community. Since 2016, all on-duty police officers, from the rank of lieutenant and below, have been required to wear body-worn cameras. The cameras are required to be turned on immediately when officer(s) respond to police calls for service. The Chief of Police or his designee has the authority to review an officer’s body worn camera recordings for any purpose to ensure accountability.