Chief gives insight to HPD training amid nationwide discourse

by GEOFF FOX

Hancock Police Chief Jim Robison talks to town officials addressing the Hancock Police Department’s Use of Force policy.

 

Over the last few months, there has been a call for police to be defunded and an end to police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

During last month’s town meeting, Hancock Police Chief Jim Robison gave officials and residents an idea what training his department has received in the area of lethal force and restraint.

Robison started off by quoting a police chief in Tennessee who stated any officer who witnessed the Floyd video and didn’t have a problem with it needed to find another job.

“I can go along with that,” Robison said. “It was obviously appalling.”

The chief said the type of restraint that resulted in Floyd’s death is something they are not trained to do when it comes to neck restraints. He added it’s not allowed under Hancock’s Use of Force policy either.

To say it would never be used, Robison said, is untrue as there could be instances such as a deadly force incident where it could come to that.

“Hopefully it will never come to that,” he said.

For the Hancock Police Department, their rules and regulations are their bible and what the officers go by.

It tells the officers how to respond and what to do in a domestic call to the vehicles’ tones.

Robison has reviewed the department’s use of force regulations and has now had the officers read it. Last month they read the first five chapters of the 32 total chapters.

“We are going through that chapter by chapter each month reading that as a review,” Robison said.

After each month, the officers sit down and discuss if there is anything that would need to be changed.

While the use of force policy is considered fair, Robison noted there are at least seven things so far that could be changed and some that could be updated.

Robison said officers are trained in excited delirium – an agitated state tied to drug use that can lead to death through respiratory distress. He said training in Maryland is very good and the academy was “excellent.”

Robison said he hasn’t gotten any feedback or concerns from local people about the police department in Hancock.

 

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