Source: California Department of Justice



Alberta Newspaper Group

Couch’s Corner

Below is a list of reforms required under a settlement agreement between the California Department of Justice and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. ■ Revise use of force policies to prohibit maneuvers that have a substantial risk of causing suffocation and require deputies to intervene when excessive use of force is taking place. ■ Modify canine policies and training from “find and bite” to “find and bark” and limit offleash canine deployment only for armed suspects or those wanted for a serious felony. ■ Inform public about all officer-involved shootings and deaths in custody. ■ Require supervisors to investigate all uses of force. ■ Improve use of force training to include de-escalation techniques and bias. ■ Meet with community advisory panel to receive input. ■ Require deputies to state reason for an investigatory stop or detention as soon as possible. ■ Require deputies to state a valid reason under the law for a consent search and secure a supervisor’s approval for any search of a home. ■ Provide dispatchers with crisis intervention training and establish deputies who are preferred responders to individuals in a mental health crisis. ■ Ensure timely access to police services to all individuals regardless of ability to speak English. ■ Develop a recruitment plan for attracting workforce that reflects diversity in Kern County. ■ Broaden efforts to participate in community engagement efforts. ■ Conduct a biennial community survey measuring public satisfaction with policing. ■ Establish a clear definition for a civilian complaint.