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Concern builds over Sacramento Police’s new use of force policy

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    SACRAMENTO, CA (KOVR) — Concern is rising from local leaders over Sacramento’s new police use-of-force policy.

Some say it could drive officers to retire, and one city council member voted no.

If the policy changes, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn says so would training at the academy. Sacramento Mayor Daryl Steinberg proposed the new policy and said that’s the goal.

“There have been too many shootings. We’re also trying to protect the lives of officers as well,” he said.

With a vote of 8 to 1, Sacramento City Council adopted a higher use-of-force standard for police.

Under this new policy, officers are justified in using deadly force only as a last resort.

“Anyone in their right mind, well of course the officer, should never use deadly force unless it’s necessary,” said Chief Hahn.

Chief Hahn says he has significant concerns with the policy. He says the problem with it is what’s written before that “last resort” language.

It also says an officer “shall use other tools before using deadly force,” which he says could put the community and his officers in danger.

“I don’t think anyone would think it’s feasible to respond to gunfire with pepper spray,” said Chief Hahn.

Vice Mayor Jeff Harris was the only city council member to vote “no.”

He’s already heard some of the police force may retire because of this policy.

“I also worry it will be harder to recruit with this new standard that is not backed up by statute and case law, it leaves people vulnerable,” Harris said.

Stevante Clark, whose brother Stephon Clark was killed by two Sacramento police officers in March 2018, is supporting the proposal, saying there’s a need for tough language to stop police shootings.

“We’re going to have to see if they really come down to last resort if they use their batons if they use other devices,” he said.

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