Camden County Police Department Use of Force Policy


The Camden County Police Department has adopted an innovative, revised use of force policy drafted with the help of the Policing Project. The revised use of force policy goes beyond the Supreme Court’s minimal constitutional principles regarding use of force—that an officer may only use force that a reasonable officer would when facing similar circumstances—to clearly state that officers must do everything possible to respect and preserve the sanctity of all human life, avoid unnecessary uses of force, and minimize the force that is used, while still protecting themselves and the public.

The policy is consistent with national best practices on use of force, including de-escalation and force mitigation training that CCPD officers currently receive, and the “PERF 30” principles developed by the Police Executive Research Forum. The policy was also vetted and revised with the ACLU of New Jersey.

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Key Takeways

Unlike more traditional use of force policies, CCPD’s policy now revolves around six core principles, each of which has at its core the sanctity of all human life. The policies six core principles are:

CORE PRINCIPLE #1: Officers may use force only to accomplish specific law enforcement objectives.

CORE PRINCIPLE #2: Whenever feasible, officers should attempt to de-escalate confrontations with the goal of resolving encounters without force. Officers may only use force that is objectively reasonable, necessary, and as a last resort.

CORE PRINCPLE #3: Officers must use only the amount of force that is proportionate to the circumstances.

CORE PRINCIPLE #4: Deadly force is only authorized as a last resort and only in strict accordance with this directive.

CORE PRINCIPLE #5: Officers must promptly provide or request medical aid.

CORE PRINCIPLE #6: Employees have a duty to stop and report uses of force that violate any applicable law and/or this directive.

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