Austin police have enacted a new policy that requires officers to first try to tamp down a volatile situation before turning to more aggressive means, including using their guns, batons and Tasers.
The move comes amid a national effort among law enforcement aimed at curtailing violent clashes between officers and suspects.
According to a new de-escalation policy recently put in place by Interim Police Chief Brian Manley, officers must now work in a way to “minimize the possibility of having to use any force.” It directs them to “take steps to slow down or stabilize the situation so that additional time, options and resources can be directed towards achieving voluntarily compliance.”
If an officer ultimately deems force necessary, supervisors will now decide whether he considered options to de-escalate the situation. Failure to abide by the new rules could result in disciplinary actions similar to other infractions, including anything from a reprimand to termination.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story linked to a draft policy, not the policy adopted by the Austin Police Department.