The Amherst Police Department has been an accredited agency since 2002. Massachusetts Accreditation standards require that a qualifying agency must establish written policies that are current and grounded in best practices. The policies must be reviewed regularly, and the agency is subjected to a rigorous in person independent review every three years. The Amherst Police Department maintains and adheres to policies on the Use of Force. They include:
- Unreasonable or excessive force is prohibted.
- Responding officers have a duty to ensure the appropriate level of force is used and have a duty to intervene if they witness unlawful actions.
- Strict adherence to a Use of Force Continuum.
- Mandated reporting of any use of force incident.
- The use of choke holds is prohibited.
- Recurring and realistic scenario based de-escalation training.
- Prohibition of shooting at a fleeing vehicle.
- Mandated review and discussion of the Use of Force policy at every training, but at least annually.
- Requirement to provide immediate medical care to a person injured in a use of force incident.
- Mandated independent review by the Office of the District Attorney in all shooting cases, even non-fatal.
- Requirement to provide a warning before shooting, if possible.
- The use of a firearms is the very last resort in a force situation and all other less drastic means available must be sought.
- An annual review of all use of force instances to adjust training needs.
These policies are reinforced through several mandated training sessions each year. As these policies are not new, they are part of what defines our agency in practice and culture.
Please click here to view the folder of our policies.
If there is a policy or document you were not able to find in the folder, all Amherst Police written policies are public records and can be obtained electronically, free of charge, by clicking here.