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Crime Sheriff Salazar: Department will review its use-of-force policies

18:06  23 june  2020
18:06  23 june  2020 Source:   mysanantonio.com

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In the wake of police brutality incidents across the country, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a news conference Monday that his department will review its use-of-force policies.

Javier Salazar wearing a uniform: Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar addresses the media after speaking to a class of aspiring law enforcement officers at the Bexar County Sheriff's Academy in Atascosa on Friday. © Provided by mySA

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The sheriff said the incident in Atlanta in which two officers were filmed shooting and killing a black man as he ran from them prompted local leaders to take "a deep dive" into what parts of their policies may be outdated.

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"It made us sit and say 'what are we teaching our troops?'" Salazar said.

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The sheriff described the department's policies as a living document, saying if they weren't able to fold into their training things that are happening in the world, then the department is doing a disservice.

As an example, Salazar brought up the 21-foot rule he was taught when he was in the academy in 1992. The policy says an officer can shoot if a suspect is within 21 feet of them with a weapon. Salazar said, however, the policy doesn't account for a wide range of factors that may constitute using a less-deadly alternative to apprehend someone.

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"We have these blanket policies and things like the 21-foot rule has fallen out of touch," Salazar said. "We need to make sure that nothing is outdated and it is now getting dangerous to teach a cookie cutter approach. That all is a training issue.

"Safety of human life is paramount, it is even written into our policies so we need to remember that and take a long, hard look at our policies," he added. "We don't want our deputies to take unnecessary chances and we of course want them to go home safe at the end of the night, but we need to remember that there are other factors that could be there."

Taylor Pettaway is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for MySA.com | taylor.pettaway@express-news.net | @TaylorPettaway

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