Charleston police plan to make use of much less deadly weapons – CBS Pittsburgh

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – After two officers shot and injured a black man in April who authorities said was wielding a knife, the West Virginia capital of police chief outlined how his department will improve de-escalation tactics and the less lethal operation Weapons.

Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt shared a plan of action in a letter to Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin on Tuesday, news outlets reported. Goodwin had the report a few days after Denaul Dickerson, 33, was shot multiple times on Jan.

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A review of body camera videos and reports found the officers had not committed any crimes, according to Kanawha County’s First Assistant Prosecutor Don Morris. Dickerson was treated in a hospital and charged with attempted malicious assault on a police officer.

After 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 with fatal rounds. Officers are instead only allowed to use shotguns that have “less lethal rounds,” Hunt wrote in his letter.

The chief said tasers were an excellent, less lethal option, but not a stand-alone solution, indicating ineffective use during the officers’ confrontation with Dickerson. He recommended upgrading the tasers in the department’s inventory to the current model over five years. Every officer on duty is instructed to wear him in uniform while working.

More body cameras are also required for each member of the department to have one. Under current policy, they are only required to wear officers who have the rank of sergeant or below.

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The chief said officers will continue to receive training on decision-making, implicit bias and de-escalation. Ten officers will be deployed later this summer on a course dealing with an officer handling mental health calls.

Hunt said he plans to work with the mayor’s office and the city administrator’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 and will continue to do better, the steps outlined in the chief’s plan will provide more officers with the equipment and training necessary to keep everyone safe,” the mayor said in an explanation.

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