June 22, 2020
There has been a lot of conversation lately concerning law enforcement and police reform. As the Chief of Police for the White Settlement Police Department, I want to let you know about some of the topics that have been in the news lately concerning policies and procedures, as well as banning some police practices and how they apply to your police department.
On June 16, 2020 President Trump issued an Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities. I’m proud to let you know that our department is already, and has been for many years, in compliance with that executive order as those orders apply to local law enforcement. Listed below are some of the current policies of the White Settlement Police Department. All of these policies and practices have been in place for ten years or more. The Police Department:
· Does not authorize the use of chokeholds or strangleholds to control a person except when an officer’s life or another person’s life is in jeopardy.
· Has a use of force continuum that addresses using the least amount of force first.
· Prohibits shooting at moving vehicles.
· Requires any officer who use any force, including pointing a firearm at anyone, to complete a comprehensive report. That report is then reviewed through the officer’s chain of command to ensure that the incident and use of force was lawful and within policy.
We believe that well trained officers deliver better service and helps to protect our citizens and our officers. In the past five years, all of our officers have attended de-escalation training. In the past three years, all of our officers have also attended additional Crisis Intervention Training that includes how to handle situations involving mental health issues. A majority of our supervisors are also certified Mental Health Peace Officers. We will continue to seek out training for our officers on topics concerning crisis intervention and mental health issues to better serve the public.
One of the best accomplishment the Police Department has obtained is being a Recognized Agency by the Texas Best Practices Recognition Program. Since 2013, the police department has been required to meet over 170 best practice standards. The police department is evaluated and must prove to an independent group of auditors and evaluators that we meet or exceed these standards. Out of 2,700 law enforcement agencies in the State of Texas, White Settlement was the 76th law enforcement agency in the state and the 5th in Tarrant County to obtain this recognition and status.
The Police Department is always looking to improve and meet the needs and demands of our community. Even though we have taught our officers that they have a duty to intervene when they observe an officer exceed his authority or use excessive force, our policy only requires them to report that incident to a supervisor. We have enhanced our policy that now requires an officer to
intervene and stop any excessive use of force by another officer. We are also updating our policies to require an officer give verbal warnings before the use of force, when at all possible.
The White Settlement Police Department has been and always will be a part of our community, working collaboratively with our citizens to provide the best service to and for our city. We will continue to uphold ourselves and our values to protect and serve the communities quest for a safe and peaceful existence, free from fear, with democratic values applied equally to all citizens.
John P. Bevering
Chief of Police