City of Binghamton, New York

Mayor David Releases BPD Use of Force Policy, Outlines Steps Taken Since 2015 To Align With National Best Practices

6/10/2020

(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David on Wednesday released the Binghamton Police Department’s use of force policy as nationwide calls for police reform continue following the death of George Floyd.

“In Binghamton and across the country, George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked important conversations about race and the role of police in America,” said Mayor David. “Over the last several days, multiple constituents have contacted me with questions about the Binghamton Police Department’s use of force policy and how it aligns with national recommendations. It’s important residents know about the steps the City has taken over the last five years to update BPD’s policy and procedures in an ongoing effort to improve accountability and transparency. I commend the men and women of the Binghamton Police Department for their professionalism and dedication to keeping Binghamton residents safe.” 

A copy of the Binghamton Police Department’s use of force policy is attached. 

It includes several policies discussed in national police reform efforts, including those led by the American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign Zero and the NAACP, that aim to reduce police use of force: 

  • Ban chokeholds or neck restraints (BPD “Use of Physical Force” Policy 620-A: Section III)
  • Require de-escalation (BPD “Use of Physical Force” Policy 620-A: Section I & II)
  • Require warning before shooting (BPD “Use of Deadly Physical Force” Policy 620-B: Section I) 
  • Exhaust all alternatives before shooting (BPD “Use of Physical Force” Policy 620-A: Section I)
  • Ban shooting at moving vehicles (BPD “Use of Deadly Physical Force” Policy 620-B: Section II)
  • Require use of force continuum (BPD “Use of Physical Force” Policy 620-A: Section V)
  • Require comprehensive reporting (BPD “Use of Physical Force” Policy 620-A: Section VII and BPD “Use of Deadly Physical Force” Policy 620-B: Section XI)

“Duty to intervene,” which requires officers to prevent or stop any fellow officer from using force that violates law or policy, has been part of Binghamton Police training since 2016. It is not part of the written use of force policy but will be formally included in the department’s next policy update.

Binghamton Police will also follow any updated guidelines or policy mandates from state or federal reform laws.

“The Binghamton Police Department prides itself on leading by example with proactive policy and training that aligns with the latest evidence-based best practices,” said Chief  Joseph T. Zikuski. “Our officers have been trained in each of these policies. As a department, we’re committed to working to improve relationships with the community and enhancing our ability to serve and protect all residents.” 

The Binghamton Police Department’s use of force policy underwent a major overhaul in 2015 and continues to be updated regularly, as needed. 

In recent years, the City has made major investments in equipment and technology upgrades aimed at increasing police transparency and accountability, and improving safety for both residents and police officers. These include body-worn cameras for every patrol officer, 40 patrol car cameras and a new camera-equipped prisoner transport van, which the City purchased after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. 

Last year, the City completed a $1.2 million renovation of Binghamton Police headquarters that added cameras to interview rooms and other spaces where members of the department interact with the public. 

“Cities shouldn’t wait for a tragedy to happen in their backyard to make changes that improve safety, transparency and accountability,” said Mayor David. “We must hold our officers to the highest possible standard as we work to strengthen the relationship between police and the community.” 

Since 1993, the Binghamton Police Department has been an accredited department by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), with regular reaccreditations and audits to verify compliance with law enforcement standards.

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