Buncombe Co. Sheriff’s Office revises policy mandating deputies intervene in use of force cases

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BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC (WSPA) – Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller released Friday the sheriff office’s newly updated Use of Force policy, which now mandates officers and deputies to intervene if excessive force is being used by another law enforcement officer.

According to the sheriff’s office news release, the deputies and officers must “intervene if excessive force, whether physical or psychological, is being used by another Deputy or Office. The policy also mandates Use of Force reporting and supervisor notification for all deputies on scene of a use of force incident.”

“We believe in reform and this is what it looks like. All of our Deputies at the Sheriff’s Office will undergo training on this policy each year they are on the job,” Miller said.

The new Duty to Intercede clause now reads:

“If a deputy or a detention officer observes another deputy, detention officer, or employee using force clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances existing at the time, the deputy or detention officer shall intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force when in a position to do so. Intervention may initially be verbal but should progress to physical intervention when necessary to prevent physical harm. Thereafter the deputy or detention officer shall promptly report the incident to a supervisor as outlined in the Personnel Complaints policy.”

According to the release, the policy also now restricts the use of shooting at a moving vehicle unless, “no other option is available to the deputy to stop an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the deputy or another person.”

The sheriff’s office said notifying SBI has been strengthened and clarified in the new policy, saying “any incident involving the use of force where death or life-threatening injuries reasonably appear to have occurred.”

According to the release, the policy went into effect Friday following an internal review and evaluation, which included command staff and supervisors from within the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office said deputies and detention officers also read and reviewed the policy before it went into effect Friday.

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