Use of force policies in hundreds of Illinois law enforcement agencies are undergoing a new level of scrutiny. A federal directive issued earlier this month says that agencies’ use of force policies must be certified by January 31, 2021, if they wish to continue receiving federal discretionary grants.
The directive applies to municipal police departments, sheriffs’ offices, and law enforcement agencies in other places such as park districts, colleges and universities, and other entities that have their own police departments.
The U.S. Attorney General has designated the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, through its Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP), as the primary certifying body to review the use of force policies. The attorney general has similarly designated 33 other state-level accreditation bodies to do the same work in other states. In addition, on the Designated Independent Credentialing Bodies list is the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB), which can be called upon by the Illinois Chiefs if they need assistance.
In Illinois, every agency applying for this certification with the Illinois Chiefs will have fourteen different aspects of their use of force policies reviewed. Each must demonstrate, at a minimum that its policy complies with all state and federal laws and local ordinances and prohibits the use of chokeholds except when deadly use of force is allowed by law.
Chief Tom Weitzel stated, “The Riverside Police Department is in full compliance with this new federal directive. I submitted for review all policies, compliance orders, proofs, training documents and written directives. We have been certified in full compliance with the Presidential Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities.”
The Illinois Chiefs’ assessment team also reviewed Riverside’s de-escalation techniques, certain performance management tools, and community engagement. The Department of Justice refers to these as “Safe Policing Principles,” which include:
- Termination of Use of Force policies; that is, when to terminate force
- Duty to intervene policies
- Training Protocols on Use of Force and De-Escalation
- Appropriate Medical Care Policies
- Warn Before Shooting Policies
- Shooting at or from a Moving Vehicle Policies
- Warning Shots Policies
- No-Knock Warrant Policies
- Early Intervention Systems policies, procedures, and training protocols
- Hiring of Personnel policies, procedures, and training protocols
- Community engagement plans that address the particular needs of the community
- Adherence to constitutional standards
The certification process was overseen and prepared for submission by Deputy Chief Bill Gutschick.
Riverside use of force certification letter
Community Conversation with the Riverside Police Department