Good for Chief Johnson! He has his eye on the ball!


Excerpts from the Article:

In a mid-June press conference, new Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson announced a coming push for department reform.

Also at the forefront of goals was an emphasis on boosting its community policing model to connect with the public.

Dover Police Chief Thomas Johnson said his two main priorities entering 2021 will be to deliver the best body-worn cameras proposal to elected officials and begin implementation of a social service resource to complement existing patrol operations. 

During the 50-minute gathering before media, the chief asked the public to hold him to meeting the challenge of examining and adapting operations.

Last week, the department announced progress made in the past six months, covering an array of modifications to policies and standards.

According to Chief Johnson, “The language of certain policies was clarified to leave no doubt about the intended meaning.
“For example, while it was always inferred, we made it clear that a warning should be issued, if time allows, prior to any substantial application of force. It was made more abundantly clear that all forms of neck restraint, whether manual, or aided by a control device, is completely outside of policy unless there is a threat to life that cannot be resolved any other way.

“When it comes to the topic of medical care, when an officer recognizes an illness or injury, a prisoner will be connected to medical services even if they do not request it or try to refuse it.

“Lastly, it should be noted that the duty to intervene that has been emphasized to all sworn members and officers will now be required to file a detailed written report of an excessive use of force event and the actions taken to bring the enforcement action back inside the parameters of policy.”

The department remains grounded in national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) national standards and “We are improving the language in all of the critical policies to remain in line with evolving best practices,” spokesman Sgt. Mark Hoffman said. With the arrival of each new CALEA standard or policy, Dover expands its capacity to meet the latest best practices, according to the department.

Last week, Dover police was adding language that includes ‘vascular neck restriction’ to the policies that discuss ‘choke holds.’ “Some view these as separate issues but we agree with CALEA’s assessment that they are interconnected since they address pressure to the neck area,” Sgt. Hoffman said. “One deals with the circulation of air and the other with the circulation of blood. Our policy will view them in the same cautious light.”

So what’s still on the to do list?

“The two main priorities I have going into 2021 is to deliver the best body-worn cameras proposal that I can to our elected officials and begin the implementation of a social service resource to complement our existing patrol operations,” Chief Johnson said.

To meet the demands of coping with a job that can bring combative, physical situations at times Mr. Sudler “would like to see an on-site psychologist be incorporated among our Dover Police Department to aid them with the psychological stressors of the job and work-family balance/conflict issues.”

“We have also begun stepped up enforcement operations in areas that have been the scenes of violent events. While not completely eliminated, we are beginning to document a decrease in violent assaults, shootings and after a record-setting pace of homicide to begin 2020, we have not recorded a murder since late September.”

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