The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

Administration and police discuss use of force policy

Foothill-De Anza Police Chief Ronald Levine met with several administrators and faculty last month to review policies regarding the use of force at protests or demonstrations on campus. Levine spoke to De Anza College President Brian Murphy and the Foothill College Academic Senate.

Levine said the police can use force in clearly-defined situations to protect public safety and that the measure of force is defined. He cited the Department General Order 2.01, Use of Force.

According to the document, “the type and degree of force used will be reasonable in light of the facts known to the officer or perceived by the officer at the time of the incident. The use of force shall be restricted to circumstances specified by law when necessary to accomplish a police task successfully. Officers need not retreat or desist in the reasonable use of force.”

The use of force document covers such means of force as verbal commands, physical strength and control holds, pepper spray, ASP baton, carotid restraint, less lethal impact ammunition and lethal force. Order 2.01 explains situations in which each of the means can be used. It emphasizes use of force must be accompanied by necessary medical care.

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According to the document, “OC (pepper) spray may be used to avoid physical combat when a person demonstrates their intent to violently resist. Once the person no longer demonstrates his/her intent or ability to violently resist, the use of OC spray is prohibited. The use of OC spray shall be followed by appropriate First Aid procedures, including flushing of the exposed area with water.”

Murphy said that the administration supports the Occupy For Education encampment at De Anza, and that police have worked with the organizers of the protest.

“As a general principle, the district police share a commitment to the exercise of free speech, and do not regard student protests as an issue: They have worked cooperatively with De Anza students over the past three years when students created tent city on the main quad. They saw their main role as insuring the safety and security of the students staying overnight,” Murphy said.

Levine said the police department is in constant contact with the district Board of Trustees and meets with appropriate college administrators and student organizations when it becomes aware of a planned demonstration.

“There have been times in the past where the police department has received no prior notice of demonstrations/protests and we have to address those on a case-by-case basis when they occur,” Levine said. “When a police presence is required at any event, we always confer with the college administration and the event organizers. I will attend a meeting of any shared governance organization at their invitation to discuss any matter as it relates to the district police.”

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