Not just over the last week with the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis officers, but over the last several years, renewed concerns have surfaced about how policing in America should be. As we mentioned before in our press release, “we believe in honoring and recognizing our diversity and we believe in making every effort to not only acknowledge challenges in our community, but working together to build one another up and move ever forward, together.”
Here at the Mountain View Police Department, we've heard those concerns, and we wanted to take a moment to provide additional information on the questions we're receiving regarding training, including topics such as implicit bias, crisis intervention and de-escalation, and use of force.
We have received many inquiries from the Mountain View community about our police department’s policies and how they may or may not meet some of the guidelines being advocated for by police reform organizations. We’ve re-examined our policies and feel that most, if not all, directly align with the spirit of what is being asked for in the recommendations, but there are nuances in verbiage. For example, this is how our policies compare to the 8cantwait.org website’s recommendations:
For these reasons, we feel our policies are already very close to the recommendations being asked for. Your police department recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires monitoring, evaluation and a careful balancing of all interests.
In that spirit, our leadership will discuss potential changes in verbiage to more closely align with the recommended practices.
We are more than happy to have further dialog on this, and we will continue to work to move forward with intention with our community.
We recognize, respect, and value all human life and we firmly believe in dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires monitoring, evaluation and a careful balancing of all interests. We firmly believe in exhausting all options before having to resort to the use of force, and we are major proponents of crisis intervention techniques, as noted above.
Furthermore, in response to the 2018 Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury report Police and the Mentally Ill: Improving Outcomes, our department examined our training, policies, and practices to insure compliance and look for opportunities for improvement. Our initial outcomes and findings can be found here and a subsequent 2020 update can be found here.
Our use of force policy is readily available here.
With a total of 36,261 calls for service in 2019, either through dispatch or through officer-initiated calls by beat, only 26 of those instances resulted in a use of force by responding officers. No use of force resulted in major injuries or fatalities.
The Mountain View Police Department hires for character – we want those who come to serve our community to uphold the standards and expectations not just of us, but of our community. We also believe in having a department that is diverse and reflective of those who call Mountain View home.
According to the 2010 Census, the breakdown for the City of Mountain View is as follows:
American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.3%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.4%
Hispanic or Latino: 17.8%
Two or more races: 4.8%
Definitions for each race category from the US Census Bureau.
At the Mountain View Police Department, our breakdown for employees is as follows:
We invest heavily in training and keep well above the minimum California Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST) requirements. Our officers train bi-monthly on topics such as the appropriate use of tools and tactics, legal updates, and a variety of other skills, including anti-bias training, de-escalation efforts, and more. Our Training Committee continuously evaluates our tools, tactics, and training to ensure that they remain in line with national best practices. De-escalation is one of our core philosophies and has been incorporated into multiple training topics. To ensure it’s a central part of our culture and operations, we integrate de-escalation as much as possible into our training. More than 50 percent of our officers are also certified in Crisis Intervention Team training (exceeding the national standard of 20%). In every interaction we have on a call for service, the safety of all involved parties is our top priority.
Recently, the State of California has required law enforcement to post their policy, procedures and training on their websites. Ours have been posted on mvpdpublicrecords.org. In the coming days we will be adding additional training that our department did on these topics over the past years to show the significant amount of training our department requires of our officers. You will be happy to know that our department has already completed the California legislative mandate related to training that further defines the use of deadly force only needed to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to officers or bystanders. This legislation, called the California Act to Save Lives, has already made its way towards setting the standard for law enforcement across the nation.