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Police Department

    • Police Accountability
    • Mission Statement
    Police Accountability

    As our community, nation and world grapple with the racial injustices laid bare by the tragic death of George Floyd and so many others, the Gresham Police Department is listening to our residents and acting on suggestions on how to keep our community safe going forward. One step we are taking immediate action on is increasing transparency about our practices and policies.

    As a start, we are providing a summary of some key components of our use of force policy, as well as a link to our full policy manual.

    Out of approximately 74,000 calls for service each year, Gresham Police employs force in less than 0.2%.

    • Chokeholds and strangleholds: Chokeholds and strangleholds are not allowed. Carotid restraint is not allowed unless deadly force is authorized. Deadly force is justified only when absolutely necessary, when danger to the public or the officer is imminent and unavoidable.
    • De-escalation is required: Officers are required to de-escalate situations where possible.
    • Our scenario-based training provides officers the opportunity to use de-escalation techniques such as using dialogue to calm a situation.  These scenarios also help our officers learn when de-escalation is not appropriate, such as in dynamic and evolving incidents where there is increased risk to the public, subject and the officers.
    • Require warning before shooting: The Gresham Police Department trains officer to identify themselves and give warnings if possible. However, in some situations, there is not time to give warnings.
    • Exhaust all alternatives before shooting: Gresham police officers are trained and expected to value human life.  Gresham Police Department officers use deadly force when there are no appropriate alternatives.  In the last 21 years, Gresham Police Department officers have been involved in 5 officer involved shootings that have resulted in the death of the suspect.  There are thousands of incidents each year where officers are legally justified to use deadly force, but officers choose to use an appropriate and lawful alternative. 
    • Duty to intervene: Gresham Police Department officers are required to intervene and stop excessive force and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.  Gresham Police Department officers are also trained to recognize these circumstances and intervene before excessive force is used.
    • Shooting at moving vehicles: Officers may only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others.
    • Use of force continuum: This term describes an escalating series of actions an officer may take to resolve a situation, ranging from least severe (the mere presence of an officer) to most severe (deadly force). What many police agencies have found was that trying to apply this “ladder of force” escalation was not practical in dynamic, real world settings where decisions are made within a matter of seconds. Instead, Gresham Police are required to know whether their actions comply with state and federal laws. Our police department has established additional restrictions on use of force above and beyond federal law, including restrictions on vehicle pursuits, handcuffing, Tasers and more. Read our complete policies here.
    • Comprehensive reporting required: Officers must complete a report each time they use force, which is independently reviewed by an officer’s immediate supervisor, their Watch Commander, their supervising captain, the Chief of Police, and survival skills trainer officers.

    Additional questions?

    Submit your comments or questions here:

    Mission Statement

    The Gresham Police Department is committed to providing high-level service through continued community engagement that seeks to improve the quality of life and maintain the safety of our residents. Recognizing that our employees are a critical resource in this commitment to our community, we will strive to ensure that our officers are highly trained, ethically sound professionals who are focused on serving the needs of the community.

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