Vancouver Police Department announces receipt of PERF use of force report

The PERF report includes a set of 84 recommendations that will serve as a roadmap to reform the VPD’s culture, policies and practices around use of force

VANCOUVER – In early 2019, officers from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) were involved in four officer-involved shootings. The unusual number of incidents within a short timeframe drew significant public attention, community concerns and questions regarding use of force by the VPD.

In June 2019, the city of Vancouver commissioned the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to perform a review of VPD’s policies, training, documentation and data on use of force and officer-involved shooting incidents. This report is now complete and available to the public.

The PERF report includes a set of 84 recommendations that will serve as a roadmap to reform the VPD’s culture, policies and practices around use of force. Of the 84 recommendations, 10 were identified for immediate action:

  1. Implement the Critical Decision-Making Model (CDM) throughout the agency
  2. Prohibit any type of neck restraint
  3. Prohibit shooting at or from a moving vehicle
  4. Restrict the use of canines to serious criminal offenses
  5. Implement ICAT (Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics) training agency-wide    
  6. Ensure that sergeants respond immediately to difficult situations, such as calls involving persons with mental illness, in which a use of force might be necessary or when a well-managed response might result in compliance without use of force.
  7. Train and require lieutenants conducting reviews of critical incidents to consider the event in its entirety, looking for ways to improve communications, tactics, policy, training, and/or equipment.
  8. Ensure use-of-force reports are reviewed by each level of command up to the assistant chief level.
  9. Share information on the VPD website about the department’s use of force.
  10. Meet with community to discuss plans to implement recommendations

“Cities all across America are hearing an unprecedented call for policing reform, including here in Vancouver,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes. “We have listened to the concerns from our residents, recognize the need for change and are committed to serving the public safety needs of all of our communities in a more just and equitable manner.”

In support of implementing the PERF recommendations, a Community Task Force on Policing will be convened to serve as a forum to provide community input and to ensure transparency and accountability in this work. The task force will also review and advise on establishing a body-worn camera program for VPD in time for Vancouver City Council to consider it as part of the 2021-2022 biennial budget this fall. 

The task force will include members representing:

  • Vancouver City Council  
  • City Manager’s Office
  • Office of the Chief of Police
  • Chief’s Diversity Advisory Team
  • communities of different racial backgrounds
  • communities affected by policing
  • mental health resources
  • labor organizations

The city has already begun inviting community members and organizations to join the task force.

“Implementation of the PERF recommendations will result in policing that can better serve the public safety needs of our community in a way that proactively counteracts the inequities that exist in policies and throughout the system as a whole,” added Holmes. “We want to improve equity, accountability and transparency, promote higher standards, and increase public trust and confidence.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to work together with City Council and the community to make sure that we not only accomplish implementation of the PERF recommendations, but also continue to find ways to listen to and bring new voices and perspectives into our work to help us better meet the needs of all the communities we serve,” said Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain. “We are embarking on a new era of American policing, one that is more responsive to what all communities expect from their police department”

Go to www.cityofvancouver.us/cmo to read a joint statement from Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes and Police Chief James McElvain and to view the PERF report.

More information on the VPD can be found at:

www.cityofvancouver.us/police

www.cityofvancouver.us/police/page/community-concerns-faqs

www.cityofvancouver.us/police/page/use-force-data

Information provided by Vancouver Police Department.

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