I am writing this letter in response to several requests to a series of use of force questions involving police officers that are circulating around the country. It is my hope that by proactively providing the following answers to these questions that the citizens of Nashua will have confidence that it's police department is following law enforcement's best practices involving the use of force and the overall treatment of the citizens we deal with.
The responses to the following questions are all derived from the Standard Operating Procedures and the Rules and Regulations of the Nashua Police Department. The Nashua Police Department follows the best practices in law enforcement developed by the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CALEA).
Use of Force Questions
1. Are the Nashua Police Officers forbidden from using carotid restraints (choke-hold, strangleholds) and hog-tying methods? Furthermore, are they forbidden from transporting civilian in uncomfortable positions, such as face-down in a vehicle?
The Nashua Police Officers are forbidden to use choke-holds in use of force situations. This is covered in Standard Operating Procedure 7B Use of Force, Section IV,D. On an annual basis all officers are required to received a minimum of eight hours of use of force training. The Nashua Police Department exceeds this minimum State mandate by having its officers receive much more than eight hours. During this training the prohibitions against "hog-tying" and other forms of positional asphyxia are covered.
2. Are the Nashua Police Officers required to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force? Will officers be reprimanded if they fail to intervene?
The Nashua Police Officers are required to report and expected to intervene any misconduct or law violation committed by another officer or employee of the police department. This is covered in Rules and Regulations III, section 3.2.22.
3. Are Nashua Police Officers forbidden from shooting at moving vehicles?
Nashua Police Officers are forbidden from shooting at motor vehicles unless occupants in the vehicle are using deadly physical force and there is no danger of hitting a pedestrian or bystander. This is covered in SOP 7B Use of Force, Section IV H.
4. Is there a clear and enforced use of force continuum that details what weapons and force are acceptable in various situations?
The use of force continuum is listed in SOP 7B, Use of Force, Section IV.
5.Are the Nashua Police Officers required to exhaust every possible option before using excessive force?
The Nashua Police Officers are never authorized to use excessive force. It is the policy of the Nashua Police Department to avoid using any force whenever practical. All uses of force are required to be documented on a report which is then administratively reviewed by several levels of supervisory and command staff. This is covered in SOP 7B Use of Force, Sections III A, X and XI.
6. Are Nashua Police Officers required to give a verbal Warning each time they threaten to or use force on a person?
In the Nashua Police Use of Force SOP 7B verbal persuasion is listed as an option prior to any use of physical force if possible. In all levels of force if reasonably possible an officer is instructed to warn a subject prior to the use of force.
7. Are Nashua Police Officers required to report each time they threaten or use force?
Officers are required to report all uses of force each time force is used or deadly force is threatened (pointing a firearm) at a person. This is covered in SOP 7B Use of Force, Section X.
As part of its accreditation process on an annual basis the Accreditation Manager completes a comprehensive analysis of all the use of of force reports, training and policies of the department. The analysis covers many areas to include but not limited to; weapons used, precipitation events, age, gender, race of suspect, injuries, training, etc.
8. Are the officers in the Nashua Police Department thoroughly vetted to ensure that they do not have a history with abuse, racism, xenophobia, homophobia/transphobia, or discrimination?
The Nashua Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau is responsible for conducting thorough background investigations on all police applicants. Further all police officer candidates are required to be examined by a certified psychologist which covers a wide variety of personality traits including biases. Once hired the officers are required to abide by SOP 88 Bias Based Profiling. This SOP prohibits any kind of bias policing. On an annual basis a review of bias policing, training and practices is conducted by the Nashua Police Department's Accreditation Manager.
9. Are the Nashua Police Officers trained to perform and seek necessary medical action after using force?
The Nashua Police Officers are trained in a high level medical program called emergency casualty care. Officers are required by SOP 7B, Section III,e, to provide and/or seek medical attention for subjects who are injured as a result of force used.
10. Is there an early intervention system enforced to correct officers who use excessive force? Additionally, how many complaints does an officer have to receive before they are reprimanded?
The Nashua Police Department has an early intervention system that is covered in SOP 82J Employee Assessment System. The system is monitored by the Professional Standards Bureau and does have a tracking mechanism for officers receiving citizen complaints. Thresholds are listed for Citizen Complaints, use of force incidents, traffic accidents and other areas.
The Nashua Police Department has been nationally accredited by the Commission on Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) since 1991. CALEA encompasses 459 standards of the best practices in all facets of law enforcement. In the most recent assessment conducted in December, 2019 the department was found in compliance of all applicable standards. During the review hearing in March of 2020 the Nashua Police Department was commended by the review committee as having an outstanding assessment.
To download and read a full copy of Chief Carignan's letter Please Click here:
To download a copy of SOP 7B Please Click here:
To download a copy of SOP 88 Please Click here:
To download a copy of SOP 7B Please Click here:
To download a copy of CALEA's 2020 Final Report for NPD:
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