Exploring Use of Force at Lewiston PD's Citizen Academy | Crime
Week three of the Lewiston Police Department's 19th Annual Citizen Police Academy carried a bit of excitement, as a mock shooting had the classroom recollecting what exactly happened.
We debated how many shots we heard, how many suspect(s) there were, what the officer told the suspect(s), and what exactly we saw as we looked out the window of the "restaurant" through the flashing police lights. It was interesting to learn how so many ears and eyes can present different viewpoints of a crime scene.
Personally, I heard six shots and I was wrong. There were actually seven simulated shots. As far as seeing anything, I saw flashing lights, reflections of my classmates in the "restaurant" windows, and a bit of movement "outside." It was all part of the third installment of the 11-week class which focused on the Use of Force and Technology.
Using force is not something officers like to do, but in some cases it is necessary to ensure the protection of not only the officer, but the suspect and the public.
Captain Roger Lanier, Lewiston Police Department, told the class there are limitations on the amount and type of force that officers may use. The standard was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989 in GRAHAM vs. CONNOR.
Each time an LPD officer does use force, a supervisor not involved with the case is called to the scene. They interview witnesses and document the entire incident. The report is passed through each level of command, all the way to the chief.
"It is the policy of this department that police officers shall use only that force that is reasonably necessary to effectively bring an incident under control, while protecting the lives of the officer or another." - LPD's Use of Force Policy
In 2011, LPD officers made 2,705 arrests and the use of force was utilized in only .8% of those contacts.
Corporal Eric Kjorness is the department's technology wizard. That is my title for him. He makes sure the department's mobile radios, mobile data computers, videos, digital cameras and other necessary equipment are operational. He’s also the go-to guy for area law enforcement agencies when it comes to securing evidence from cell phones and computers. In all, his technology training is estimated at around 2,000 hours.
The technological advances in just the past five years have been significant, with benefits including increased productivity, significantly better evidence and less time spent on court cases.
Imagine a compelling audio and video presentation of a DUI case utilizing today's technology. Kjorness says many cases don't even end up going to court because the evidence is so good, the defense attorney will plead his/her client out.
LPD's computer server is quite large in order to hold the various pieces of evidence. Kjorness says it holds about 10 Terabytes. One terabyte is equal to 1024 gigabytes.
Kjorness also reports some drawbacks to all of the advancements made in recent years. The department is "100% dependent on technology" and they continually have to upgrade software and hardware to keep up with the system. One of the future improvements will be the addition of HD video, which is expected to cost upwards of $100,000.
Next Week's Class: Selective Traffic Enforcement Program and DUI's.
About the Author: Mia Carlson is the news director for KZBG "Big Country" 97.7 and KZID "K-Hits" 98.5. She's based out of Clarkston, but broadcasts to the entire LC Valley. You can contact her through Facebook.
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