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The Lebanon Police Officers are never authorized to use excessive force. It is the policy of the Lebanon Police Department to use only a reasonable amount of force to conduct the lawful activities of the department. All uses of force are required to be documented on a report which is then administratively reviewed by several levels of supervisory and command staff. This is covered in our Use of Force policy. The policy further states that “The use of Deadly force should be used as a last option and only where allowed by NH RSA 627:5. When possible, officers should use other alternatives prior to resorting to deadly force.”
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The Lebanon Police Officers are forbidden to use chokeholds in use of force situations. This is covered in our Use of Force policy. Employees are prohibited from the use of chokeholds or neck holds except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law. This includes any hold to the neck which would obstruct a person’s ability to breathe. Officers are also trained yearly on the dangers and signs of positional asphyxia.
Lebanon Police Department’s Use of Force policy states the following:
“All sworn employees will intervene, if a reasonable opportunity exists, when they know or should know that another employee is using unreasonable force. All sworn employees will immediately verbally report excessive force to a supervisor.”
“Officers will not discharge a firearm at or from a moving vehicle except when all other reasonable means have been exhausted and it is necessary for the defense of the officer’s life or the life of another person, or the officer has probable cause to believe that the officer or others are in immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury.”
Our Use of Force policy explains each step in the Use of Force Continuum model including when and how the following levels of force should be utilized:
De-escalation Techniques, Officer Presence, Verbal Persuasion, Soft Empty Hand Techniques and Restraining Devices, Chemical Agent Spray (OC), Taser, Physical Force, Expandable Baton, Less Lethal Force (Pepperball System and Less-lethal Beanbag rounds), and Deadly Force.
As described in the Lebanon Police Use of Force Policy, when officers are about to invoke deadly force, they will, when possible and/or practicable, issue a verbal warning to the suspect. In this warning, officers will identify themselves as police officers and instruct the suspect to cease or stop whatever action has caused the officer to consider the use of deadly force.
Officers are required to file a comprehensive written report each time force is used, or deadly force is threatened (pointing a firearm) at a person.
As part of its accreditation process, on an annual basis the Professional Standards Bureau Commander completes a comprehensive analysis of all the use of force reports, training and policies of the department. The analysis covers many areas to include but not limited to; weapons used, precipitation events, age, gender, race of suspect, injuries, training, etc.
Lebanon Police’s Use of Force policy states that, “Whenever possible, officers shall use techniques to minimize the need to use force and increase the likelihood of voluntary compliance to include verbal persuasion and warnings, as well as tactical de-escalations techniques such as creating space, slowing down the pace of the incident or requesting additional resources.”
Yes, the Lebanon Police Department requires all officers to wear body worn cameras (BWC). Officers are required to activate the video and audio components of the BWCs and start recording upon arrival on scene of a call for service or when engaged in any law enforcement-related encounter or activity, or upon activation of lights and siren. The BWC is to remain activated until the event is completed.
In addition, officers are also required to use In-Car camera systems, which are to be utilized while using lights and siren, while conducting law enforcement-related encounters or activities within view of the cruiser’s cameras, or while transporting persons in the rear of the cruiser.
The complete In-Car & Body Worn Camera (BWC) Systems Policy can be read here.
Each year the Lebanon Police Department issues a report on citizen complaints and internal affairs investigations. All of the complaints were thoroughly investigated by a supervisor within the department. The results of the complaints listed in the Yearly Internal Affairs Statistics can be found here.