On June 14, 2021, Eugene Police will go live with significant additions to our Force Response reporting to include when a taser, extended-range impact weapon such as 40 mm (less than lethal), or firearm is pointed at a person, or when a canine is used to gain compliance. This data can subsequently be tracked along with demographics, including by race. The terminology “Force Response Reporting” has been updated from ‘use of force reporting’ to reflect foundational changes to the system and philosophy of reporting.
“In the past we have reported on the obvious types of physical force used during incidents, and last summer, we enlarged our philosophy to include commanding compliance by displaying an extended-range impact weapon, taser, K9, or firearm,” said Chief Chris Skinner. “Having any of these pointed at you is an immediate physical threat, even if it is not ultimately deployed. What also informed our decision to move forward was our foundational work on the Statistical Transparency of Policing program, which tracks discretionary traffic and person stops by race. Similar to STOPS, our force response reporting system will be able to track the four additional types of shows of force by demographics. This will provide a warning system for any disparate treatment of racial, ethnic, gender or other demographic groups. We felt that along with our STOPS program, this should be part of our community conversation around equity and transparency and I’m grateful to our staff for following through with a program and policies that will help us be ahead of any trends or red flags we need to address.”
The department provided training to all officers on this topic during in-service training in September 2020, and the system will be operational on June 14, 2021. Officers will begin entering reportable Force Response incidents in the department’s tracking software. All reportable Force Response incidents are routed to supervisors, the defensive tactics sergeant, command chain, and Internal Affairs. The Police Auditor also has visibility to all reportable Force Response incidents.
The ‘ominous’ display of an extended range impact weapon (such as a 40 mm less than lethal weapon), taser, K9, or firearm is defined as when the tool is pointed at a person to gain compliance and will now be considered a show of force officers will be required to include in their Force Response reports. The addition comes after development phase began in the summer of 2020, with staff working diligently to make the change. The change is supported both by administration, policy, and the Eugene Police Employees Association. The program is complementary to the department’s STOP data program, which has been tracking discretionary person and traffic stops by race since 2018, with results compiled by Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. EPD’s activity with STOP began in 2012, well ahead of the 2017 passage of House Bill 2355. STOP is another intentional program indicative of EPD’s goal to ensure the community is experiencing professional service without discrimination toward any individual or group.