CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — After two officers shot and wounded a Black man who authorities said was wielding a knife in April, the police chief of West Virginia’s capital city has outlined how his department will improve de-escalation tactics and use fewer lethal weapons.
Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt shared an action plan in a letter sent to Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin on Tuesday, news outlets reported. Goodwin had requested the report from the department a few days after Denaul Dickerson, 33, was shot multiple times on April 30.READ MORE: Many People Left Waiting For Payments From IRS For Tax Refunds, Stimulus Checks, Child Tax Credits
A review of body camera video and reports determined the officers didn’t commit any crimes, according to Kanawha County First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Don Morris. Dickerson was treated at a hospital and was charged with attempted malicious assault of a police officer.
Following the shooting, the department is revising its stun gun policy, increasing the number of officers wearing body cameras, and will no longer allow officers to carry shotguns that have lethal rounds. Officers will instead only be allowed to use shotguns that have “less-lethal rounds,” Hunt wrote in his letter.
The chief said Tasers are an excellent less-lethal option but aren’t a single solution, pointing to the ineffective deployment during the officers’ confrontation with Dickerson. He recommended that the Tasers in the department’s inventory be upgraded to the current model over five years. Each officer issued one will be mandated to carry it while working in a uniformed capacity.
More body cameras are also being requested so each member of the department has one. Under the current policy, only officers who hold the rank of sergeant or under are required to wear them.READ MORE: Health Experts Optimistic Latest COVID-19 Surge Could Soon Subside
The chief said officers will continue attending trainings related to decision-making, implicit bias, and de-escalation. Ten officers will be sent later this summer to a course that “addresses an officer’s handling of mental health-related calls for service.”
Hunt said he plans to work with the mayor’s office and city manager’s office to come up with a plan to fund the new initiatives.
Goodwin said she was happy with the plan, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“While we can always do better, and will continue to do better, the steps outlined in the Chief’s plan will provide more officers with the equipment and training needed to keep everyone safe,” the mayor said in a statement.MORE NEWS: Three People Killed In Small Plane Crash In Fayetteville, W. Va.
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