Sheriffs' Statement on IACP Policy on Use of Force

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Alexandria, VA – National Sheriffs’ Association President Greg Champagne and Major County Sheriffs’ Association President Sandra Hutchens released the following statement concerning IACP’s new policy - National Consensus Policy on Use of Force:

It is essential that all law enforcement agencies have comprehensive use-of-force policies that provide proper guidance to officers when considering and using response to resistance. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has undertaken the difficult, if not impossible task of attempting to develop a national consensus use-of-force policy. Such a policy has potential benefits for agencies that may not have adequate or well-developed use-of-force policies. The IACP effort is well-intended but after collaboratively participating in the effort and considering the published policy, we do not support this model policy. The model policy does not have national consensus as the National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, and other national law enforcement organizations do not concur with or adopt the policy. 

Establishing a national consensus policy for response to resistance is impossible because laws, standards, community needs, desires and tolerances differ greatly. A one size fits all policy is impractical; what is proper and accepted in one city or county may be contrary to law and/or community tolerances in another. We support the concept of a document that identifies lawful responses to resistance that employ the best practices so that law enforcement leaders can make informed decisions on the best polices for their agencies, but not a document that recommends or requires adherence to some objectionable concepts contained in the IACP policy.

We thank the IACP for its leadership and effort to publish a policy addressing a very difficult topic and one for which there are varying proper and accepted practices.  The National Sheriffs’ Association and Major County Sheriffs’ Association will be working on a document that identifies for law enforcement leaders the topics that need to be addressed in an effective response to resistance policy. Some of the contents in our guidelines will incorporate principles in the IACP model policy, but also reject some of the recommended concepts in that policy. We will publish our use-of-force/response to resistance guidelines in the new future. 

About NSA
The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its seventy-six year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government.

About MCSA
The Major County Sheriffs' Association (MCSA) is a professional law enforcement association of elected sheriffs representing counties or parishes with 500,000 population or more. They are dedicated to preserving the highest integrity in law enforcement and the elected Office of the Sheriff. Our membership represents over 100 million Americans. MCSA works to promote a greater understanding of law enforcement strategies to address futures problems and identify law enforcement challenges facing the members of our organization.