The Springfield Police Department launched a new website on Thursday aimed at creating more transparency for the department when it comes to their operations.
“Where We Stand” provides information on the department’s operating procedures, along with their position on body cameras and the use of force.
“This section of our website is dedicated to transparency and I hope it will foster greater trust and open communication between the Springfield Police Department and our community,” Chief Paul Williams writes on the site. “I encourage you to look at all the information available. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out and let me know.”
The page’s section regarding use of force notes that SPD officers are prohibited from using chokeholds unless they are involved in a “lethal force encounter.”
According to the SPD Standard Operating Guide, “an employee may use lethal force responses only when he reasonably believes that the action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury or death.”
An officer may also use lethal force in the event of a “violent fleeing felon” of which provided examples include a serial murderer or rapist; or a suspect who has used a deadly weapon in their attempt to escape. They are to verbally warn the fleeing suspect before taking action “if practical.”