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Shelby County sheriff announces new policy to intervene and report excessive force incidents

Updated: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s a new policy at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office aimed at reducing excessive use of force incidents.

Sheriff Floyd Bonner announced the duty-to-intervene policy Wednesday. It directs deputies to intervene and report the use of excessive force by another deputy.

The sheriff’s office says it’s an enhancement to the department’s existing Code of Ethics.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office told WMC Action News 5 June 4 that Bonner was reviewing his office’s policies and making changes to make sure the language was crystal clear after protests that followed George Floyd’s death.

Memphis City Council voted on three resolutions Tuesday regarding policy changes for the Memphis Police Department.

"I think Council is the best body because council represents all of Memphians to vet what the Police Department is doing and what direction you want us to go in," said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings.

The policy changes include increasing transparency of the complaint process and encouraging supplemental reporting for Memphis Police and Memphis Fire, adopting the "8 Can't Wait" use of force reduction policies and requesting Mayor Strickland form a community task force to assist in the selection of the new police director.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings and his team gave a presentation on the "8 Can't Wait" policies during Tuesday's meeting - which are policies police departments can implement to reduce harm caused by police.

Rallings says MPD was already implementing 7 of the 8 policies.

Meanwhile as MPD continues to reform its practices and policies; Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner is doing the same.

He announced Wednesday a new "Duty to Intervene" policy directing deputies to intervene and report the use of excessive force by another deputy.

As for what’s next -- City Councilwoman Rhonda Logan created a Public Safety Task Force that will include council members, city residents, both Memphis police and fire directors, union leaders and HR representatives.

They'll come up with recommendations for recruiting, hiring, training and retention for the Memphis Police and Memphis Fire Departments.

The Public Safety Task Force’s first meeting is Thursday.

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