The Woodstock Police Department was deemed to be in compliance with federal standards on these policies after an independent review, according to its police chief.
Police Chief Calvin Moss told the Woodstock City Council Monday an independent review had been conducted on the department’s policies, based on the standards created by the U.S. Department of Justice and outlined in a presidential executive order issued June 16.
The review looked at a number of policies and procedures the Woodstock Police Department had in place. The policies under review included training protocols on de-escalation and the use of force, an officer’s duty and obligation to intervene to prevent excessive force by another officer, officers identifying themselves as law enforcement and giving verbal warning of their intent to use deadly force, and whether police shoot at or from a moving vehicle. The review found all of these policies were fully in compliance with the DOJ’s standards.
By being in compliance with these standards, the department received notification from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police earlier this year that the Woodstock Police Department had met all of the association’s conditions to be an officially certified law enforcement agency.
During 2020, the Woodstock Police Department responded to 26,314 calls for service, with officers using force in response to aggression in 46 incidents in total, Moss said in an email Wednesday. In addition, in 2020, no one died in any of these incidents or while in police custody, he said.
“To put that in perspective, WPD officers used force in less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the calls they responded to last year,” he said.
These numbers were similar to 2019, when 48 calls for service involved the use of some type of force out of a total number of 31,946 calls for service, according to an open letter Moss issued in June. The letter also said Woodstock police officers averaged 150 hours of training in 2019, far more than the 20 hour minimum required by state law.
According to the chief, supervisors routinely see body camera footage and command staff, including Moss, review all use of force situations.
Moss said Wednesday that the Woodstock Police Department conducts implicit bias training, while also providing officers with instruction in social intelligence, using a de-escalation training model from the Force Science Institute.
“This training incorporates de-escalation techniques into realistic scenario-based training exercises conducted throughout the year,” Moss said. “Officers also undergo Crisis Intervention Team training and receive further implicit bias training in the department’s leadership course. In addition, our officers received instruction from a psychologist in the principles of social intelligence and how to apply them.”
The report came after a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd last May. The jury found Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter last Tuesday in Floyd’s death, which sparked protests across the country in the summer, including in Canton and Woodstock.