Many, if not all, of the policies identified below have been in place since the Police Division became a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accredited law enforcement agency in 1993. Since that time, the Police Division is continually reviewing, analyzing, updating, and revising these policies based on best practices, proven techniques, revisions in the law, and community input.
The Police Division is led by the Chief of Police, with a Deputy Chief of Police as second in command. The Division falls under the Safety Department and an appointed civilian department head – all under the oversight of the Mayor as conservator of the peace. In Bowling Green, the Safety Director has traditionally been the Municipal Administrator.
The division does not authorize the use of neck restraints except as provided for in sections 3-6-2 Response to Resistance/Aggression (RRA) in Defense of Human Life and 3-6-3 Use of Deadly Force to Apprehend a Fleeing Felon. Bottom line-an officer would only use this as a technique of opportunity in a deadly force situation.
Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and de-escalation has been an on-going division training priority since 2003. The division has worked closely with Wood County ADAMHS Board, NAMI, and local mental health providers. The division has been recognized in 2003 as the ADAMHS Mental Health Advocate of the Year and in 2007 BGPD received the ADAMHS Behavioral Health Leadership Award. Individually, officers have contributed to the betterment of the entire Wood County Law Enforcement response system for mental health. In 2016, Officer Scott Frank received the Wood County NAMI “Making a Difference” Award for his leadership as the Wood County Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team Leader. In 2018, Lt. Brad Biller was given the same award for his work on suicide prevention awareness and as an advocate for an improved mental health system in Wood County.
CIT and de-escalation is more than just a concept, it is ingrained in the culture of the division. Officers utilize these techniques on a regular basis, which has resulted in a reduction of officer uses of force.
In regards to officer training in these areas, officers complete initial CIT and de-escalation training in the academy. Once officers graduate from the academy, they complete a two week in-service at the division prior to working with their field training officer (FTO). During this in-service, officers review division policies and procedures in reference to CIT and de-escalation techniques (see attached Policies 3-1-17 Response to Person with Mental Illness & Policy 3-6-8 Response to Resistance/Aggression (RRA)/Use of Firearms Reporting Procedures under the “officer response” to the situation). Officers then complete practical training scenarios to utilize and hone these de-escalation techniques. In addition to this training, officers are required to attend the NAMI Crisis Intervention Training program. This 40 hour course has been attended by every officer in the police division.
After these initial training courses, officers are required to complete a CIT and de-escalation course at least every 3 years in accordance with CALEA Standards. The division also incorporates a de-escalation component into its annual use of force training (see Policy 3-6-4Policy Training & ExcerptUse of Force Training 2019 De-escalation). Additionally, officers are instructed to verbalize throughout the entire encounter in order to provide clear directions and/or warnings to the subject as well as to document (on in-car camera body microphone and with other witnesses) that the subject is given warnings, is under arrest, is resisting arrest, needs to drop the weapon, etc.
The division’s policies and training covers various options to de-escalate a situation, if possible, and to only use the amount of force necessary to control and/or neutralize the situation. Policy 3-6-1 Use of Reasonable Force specifically addresses the concept of preclusion. “Preclusion–Non-deadly and Deadly Response Standard: Have all reasonable options at that time and at that place and under those circumstances been reasonably exhausted?” (see Policy 3-6-1). It may not be possible and it is not reasonable to require an officer to exhaust all other means prior to shooting in every situation. Officers must determine the appropriate force to use based upon the subject’s actions. This force must be consistent with the law and policy (see Policy 3-6-1) and is the focus of continual training.
Yes, all officers must complete a Response to Resistance/Aggression (RRA) report as soon as practical following the incident. Officers also complete reports in all instance of injury, observation of injury, complaint of excessive force, and/or force used above the level of balance displacement. The report is reviewed by the officer’s sergeant, the operations bureau commander and then the Chief for compliance with law, policy, and training (see Policy 3-6-8 Steps in Processing Report). The Chief can also order an investigation and/or further review be completed in the event corrective action needs taken and/or serious injury or death resulted due to use of force by a member of the division (see Policies 3-6-12 Administrative Review of Response to Resistance or Aggression or Other Use of Force and 3-6-13 Chief Review of Incident). Furthermore, the Chief completes an annual use of force analysis to determine if current training and policy modifications are needed (see Policy 3-6-8).
In addition to these eight recommendations, our division also has a policy addressing the need for officers to render appropriate aid to the subject (see Policy 3-6-15).
It is important to also address the division’s policy, procedure, and training to prevent “Biased Based Profiling.” Policy 2-3-47 Biased Based Profiling stipulates that personnel will not engage in this behavior, which is contrary to the division’s mission and core values (see Policy 2-3-47). Furthermore, this policy delineates the following: “Agency personnel shall receive training in areas concerning biased based profiling, including traffic stops, search issues, asset seizure and forfeiture, interview techniques, cultural diversity, discrimination and community support required training.” Officers complete annual training on these concepts. Since 2016, officers have completed the following courses respectively: 2016-Policing in the 21st Century: Use of Force and De-Escalation, Community – Police Relations focusing on Implicit Bias, Procedural Justice and Blue Courage as well as Constitution Use of Force, 2017-Legal Update-Civil Liability for Officers, 2018- Policing Cultural Diverse Communities, 2019 Racial Profiling/Implicit Bias. In addition to training, policy also mandates for an annual administrative review (see Policy 2-3-47).
The division also adheres to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Canons of Ethics. All personnel are expected to abide by these ethics. In addition, personnel are required to complete ethics training at least biannually (see Policy 1-1-4 Canons of Police Ethics/Law Enforcement Code of Ethic). Over the last three years, personnel have completed the Ohio Ethics Commission training course as well as a course titled “Professionalism and Ethics.”
The Bowling Green Police Division has a formalized complaint process, which is outlined in policy. There are paper brochures and on-line information, which explain the process (see Complaint Against Officer Brochure). There are many ways in which an individual could file a complaint. For instance, a citizen could file a complaint against an officer by requesting to speak with the officer’s supervisor while at the scene of the incident, call or come to the division in person to request to file a complaint, go on-line to file the complaint or complete a citizen contact survey. Officers are required to hand out citizen contact surveys on a daily basis (see Citizen Contact Survey). An individual could also go on-line to complete a survey. Since 2015, officers have handed out 20,741 surveys to individuals who were victims, witnesses, and/or offenders. The Division has received 768 returned surveys. Of those, individuals rated the performance of Bowling Green Police Officers as follows: 583 Excellent, 107 Good, 14 Fair, and 11 as Poor. 53 surveys did not list a rating. All returned surveys are reviewed by the chief, deputy chief and applicable bureau commander. The bureau commanders will then forward the survey to appropriate personnel to address any request or concerns that need attention (extra patrol for speeding, compliments or complaints etc.).
All types of complaints are investigated, to include but not limited to anonymous complaints (see Policy 1-5-8 Types of Investigations). However, the anonymous complainant must provide enough information for the division to be able to investigate the matter (date, time, location, type of incident, officer involved etc.). In addition, all supervisors and/or command staff have a responsibility to exercise limited disciplinary action in minor misconduct situations (i.e. documented verbal counseling or written reprimand) (see Policy 1-5-4 Role of Supervisors). In these situations, the supervisory will generate an incident report, investigate the matter, document their findings as well as forward the report through the chain of command to the chief of police (see Policy 1-5-5 Supervisor Authority & Policy 1-5-10 Notification of Chief of Police). If the misconduct is serious in that it could result in suspension, demotion, or dismissal, the supervisor will generate an incident report, document the information they were provided, and then forward the report to the chief of police. The chief will review the report and then determine whether an internal affairs investigation is warranted or proceed directly to a pre-disciplinary hearing. If the chief determines an internal affairs investigation is warranted, he will complete a memo outlining the need for an investigation and forward it to the detective sergeant or applicable bureau commander if there is a conflict of interest (i.e. the detective sergeant was a witness to the incident or is the officer being investigated etc.). Furthermore, in either circumstance, the division will follow the process as outlined in policy (see attached Policies 1-5-7 Internal Affairs Staffing and Functions, 1-5-11 Time Limits, 1-5-12 Complaint Status Reports, & 1-5-16 Allegation Findings) and Federal and State law related to the due process rights of the employee. An officer could also be immediately relieved from duty by their supervisor in certain circumstances as outlined in Policy 1-5-15 Relief from Duty. The detective sergeant will also complete an annual administrative review based upon the records of the internal affairs office (see Policy 1-5-18 Statistical Summaries & 2019 Internal Affairs Summary Report).
Complaints may also be filed with the Mayor/Municipal Administrator’s office in the same manner as described above.
The division also takes a proactive approach toward the overall well-being of the employee. Policy 1-4-52 Personnel Early Warning System provides “…an early warning system for employees that may have trouble with personal or work-related issues and require an employee assistance program.” The division “…utilizes information received from several sources to review an employee’s performance and to establish a personnel early warning system. Agency performance evaluations, review of citizen complaints, disciplinary actions, use of force incidents, internal affairs investigations, traffic accidents, workmen’s compensation claims and sick leave usage, are some of the elements that will all be considered in the personnel early warning system.” Bureau commanders complete a documented annual evaluation of this information and forward this report to the chief of police for review. “The purpose of the review is twofold: 1. To ensure that the process has sufficiently provided for the identification of potential problem employees [and] 2. That the remedial options available offer employees the opportunity to meet the organizations values and mission statement” (see Policy 1-4-52 Personnel Early Warning System).
The division has made efforts to make contact with more female and minority candidates by attending job fairs in Toledo as well as Columbus. Recruiters have also reached out to the Bowling Green State University Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs. In addition, over the last 12 months, the division has completed a comprehensive review of our recruitment and hiring process with one of the goals to increase female and minority applicants. The review recommended using the National Testing Network for applicants. This approach will be adopted and should allow for a larger pool of diverse applicants from across the United States to apply with our division.
The division does not have a permanent full-time recruiter position. That position is assigned to the City Personnel Department. However, the division does assign personnel to recruiting duties. The recruitment team is comprised of one sergeant and 5 patrol officers. Each recruitment officer is trained annually on Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmation Action as well as the Civil Service Commission’s hiring process (see Policy 1-4-1 Recruiter Training).
Recruitment officers market the division in various ways, to include but not limited to: attending job fairs at post-secondary and vocational schools, attending career day events, using social media platforms, as well as employment websites, contacting National Guard Posts, and Veteran Affairs offices (see Policy 1-4-2 Recruiter Visitations).
The recruitment team is also tasked with developing and implementing an annual recruitment plan (see attached Recruitment Plan and Reviews). This plan is reviewed on an annual basis by the deputy chief and chief of police for compliance and recommendations. One of the challenges identified in the plan is the need to recruit more minority and female applicants. The division has also identified this as a challenge in the CALEA compliance report; the National Testing Network for applicants is being adopted in order to help address this shortfall.
In addition to the information provided regarding de-escalation training, the division has six hostage/crisis negotiators. These individuals have another 40 to 80 hours of negotiation and de-escalation training. Furthermore, these officers will complete various types of training throughout the year, to include but not limited to tabletop exercises and scenario based training with the Wood County Special Response Team.
Ohio Collaborative and The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®)
This community-police advisory board was formed in 2015 by Governor John Kasich. It created a system of voluntary compliance for uniform minimum standards for all Ohio Law Enforcement Agencies. The Bowling Green Police Division already met all of the Ohio Collaborative standards through CALEA. However, the division believed it was important to also be certified with the Ohio Collaborative. As such, division policies with proofs were submitted to the collaborative and the division did receive certification (see 2020 Ohio Collaborative Report).
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®)
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®), was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations. The CALEA Accreditation program seals are reserved for use by those public safety agencies that have demonstrated compliance with CALEA Standards and have been awarded CALEA Accreditation by the Commission.
The Bowling Green Police Division has been an accredited law enforcement agency since 1993.