The Athens-Clarke County Police Department outlined their use-of-force policies for Commissioners yesterday evening. Captain Harrison Daniel and Chief Cleveland Spruill said the department is working to improve officer response, providing nearly 10,000 hours of training in 2020, 65% of which was dedicated to de-escalation courses.
Captain Daniel: "De-escalation is one of our first strategies when it comes to a potential encounter where force may be required." Chief Cleveland Spruill addressed mental health concerns, which police officials say played a role in some of the six police shootings in 2019 in Athens. "Mental illness and substance abuse are not crimes, they are illnesses. But, if we don't dedicate the resources and check those conditions, ultimately all of those people end up interacting, or coming in contact with the police."
The presentation came just hours after ACC police officers fatally shot a suspect - the first fatal shooting by ACCPD since 2019.