FAIR TREATMENT OF ALL PERSONS. At the Saratoga Springs/Bluffdale Police Department, we treat all persons with respect and dignity. Officers make decisions about detaining persons, arrests, citations and other matters based on facts, law, policy and safety. Our officers do not make decisions based on race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender preference, expression or orientation, age, height, weight, physical or mental status, veteran or military status or marital status. Our officers make decisions based on facts, policy, law and safety. We use screening, training, mentoring and leadership to accomplish this. We have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution and all its rights, and we take that oath seriously. Our main focus is on service.
BODY CAMERAS. Our police department has WatchGuard brand body cameras. While the cameras are not perfect, they are a good tool. We do encounter computer glitches and battery life problems from time to time, but overall they work pretty well. All of our uniformed officers are equipped with the body cameras and most of our patrol cars are also equipped with dash cameras, some of which interface with the body cameras. Our admin and detectives have access to body cameras for situations where they may prove helpful. Officers turn the cameras on for traffic stops and most calls and encounters. They don’t usually turn the cameras on until reaching the call or contact location, primarily to preserve battery life. And on some calls we do not have contact with any person, especially if the caller wishes to remain anonymous, so we may not activate the camera at all. The vehicle dash cameras only activate when an officer turns on his vehicle’s emergency lights or if the officer manually turns the dash camera on. Sometimes when someone walks up to an officer, the officer may not immediately activate the body camera if he/she is not on a call. Sometimes a citizen just wants to say hi or thanks.
POLICE OFFICER TRAINING. We conduct a fair amount of training on suicide awareness, mental health issues and other similar issues. All officers received de-escalation training during their police academy training and they continue to receive such training every year. It is every officer’s goal to have a peaceful resolution to every situation. A few years ago our department set a goal of getting every officer certified in a program called C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Techniques) which has been nationally recognized as one of the most comprehensive de-escalation training programs available. It consists of 40 hours of initial training and periodic follow-up training to maintain the certification. It is geared toward dealing with mentally ill citizens as well as those who are experiencing severe distress, anger and/or are exhibiting aggressive behavior. As a smaller Police Department we are limited in the number of officers we can send to this training each year and by the limited number of seats available in the classes but we do usually send 2 to 4 officers per year. We are in a never ending state of getting our officers through this program and in maintaining the certifications of the many officers who have already completed this training. In addition to the C.I.T. program, all of our officers regularly train on de-escalation techniques on the interactive VIRTRA Simulator system. And finally, many of our officers have had (and continue to seek) other de-escalation training such as “Verbal Judo”, Force Science institute de-escalation Tactics and other programs. The value and need for this training was recognized and implemented here at SSPD long before the word “de-escalation” became a household word. Other training we conduct annually includes: Accident investigations, Active Shooter, ASP / Pepper Spray / Taser, Bloodborne Pathogens, Bomb Response, Building Searches, Child Abduction Response, Child and Adult Homicide Investigation, Child Porn and Child Exploitation, CPR /First Aid/ Tourniquet/ Naloxone/ Tactical Medical Response, Crisis Intervention (C.I.T), D.A.R.E., Deadly Force Training, Death Investigations, Defensive Less Lethal Tactics, Domestic Violence Response, Drug Investigations, DUI Investigations, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Ethics in Law Enforcement, Firearms Training, Forensic Interviewing, Forensic Nursing Support, Gangs, Hazmat, Implicit Bias Training, Interviewing Techniques, K-9 Operations, Legal and Case Law Updates, Less Lethal Bean Bag and Pepper Ball, Medical Helicopter Landing Zone Procedures, Mental Health Crisis Response, Peer Support Training, Professionalism in Law Enforcement, Radar/Lidar, Rescue Task Force, Rules of Evidence, School Resource Officer, Search & Seizure, Sex Crimes Investigations, Special Victims Investigations, Stinger Spikes Training, Suicide Intervention, Surviving Violent Encounters, Use of Force Training, Victim Services Training, and Use of Force Virtra Simulator.
LESS LETHAL OPTIONS. We have trained and certified our officers on several less lethal options for use of force options so that in cases where deadly force (firearms) can be avoided we have these less lethal options available. Every officer has Tasers, ASP Batons and OC Pepper spray at their disposal. Additionally, supervisors and some officers have Pepper Ball and Bean Bag options. These are all proven less lethal options.
USE OF FORCE. Every use of force by every officer is reviewed by the SSPD Use of Force Review Board. If any person is injured during a use of force, the board includes the department Internal Affairs Investigator. The board makes recommendations to the Chief of Police for training and policy matters, and on occasion they make recommendations for discipline (if warranted).
CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT. We have a program called Volunteers In Police Service (VIPS). These volunteers complete a citizens academy (that we conduct every year). The volunteers provide service and oftentimes valuable feedback to our department. Any resident may attend the citizens academy. We also have a volunteer police department Chaplain. We also have a Neighborhood Outreach program that includes such things as Neighborhood Watch programs and child car seat clinics. We are currently analyzing the potential for a Citizens Advisory Board.
CONCLUSION. At SSPD/BDPD we are trying to provide the most professional law enforcement agency possible. Our primary mission is the safety of our citizens and our main focus is on service. We need our citizen support. And we welcome any citizen to contact us with any input or questions. Thank you.