Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg re-evaluates police use of force policies, adopts “8 Can’t Wait”

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse late today announced the city’s plan to evaluate and rewrite its Police Use of Force General Order.

Inspired by former President Barack Obama calling upon mayors to review methods of policing, Harrisburg officials began to take a look at city policies, he said. They are using Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” challenge as a framework.

“At the end of the conversation, there will definitely be a rewrite of the general order,” Papenfuse said.

The project looks at eight policies that local governments can adopt, claiming they may decrease police killings by 72 percent.

The eight policy recommendations include:

  • banning chokeholds and strangleholds
  • requiring de-escalation
  • requiring warning before shooting
  • requiring exhaustion of all alternatives before shooting
  • a duty to intervene when excessive force is being used
  • banning shooting at moving vehicles
  • requiring a use of force continuum
  • requiring comprehensive reporting

Papenfuse explained Harrisburg’s Police Use of Force General Order explicitly addresses seven of the eight orders. The policy that’s not in the city’s order is a duty to intervene when excessive force is being used by other officers. He mentioned it is taught in the police academy.

“We can definitely add number eight,” he said.

In addition to the city addressing the eighth policy, they are also looking to expand on and enhance the other seven. For example, the mayor said they want to require more de-escalation and warning before excessive force is used.

“I want to hear from the public,” Papenfuse said.

He encouraged Harrisburg residents to email 8cantwait@harrisburgpa.gov with comments and questions.

For more information on Harrisburg Bureau of Police Use of Force General Order, visit harrisburgpa.gov or email 8cantwait@harrisburgpa.gov. To learn more about Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait” Project, visit https://8cantwait.org/.

 

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