For years now, police officers have received backlash for the manner in which they handle civilian encounters, and with good reason. Many of the police officers who are currently on the force or have been removed from it have engaged in various types of behaviors that not only violate their department’s policies but also their state’s laws. As a result, many innocent individuals have lost their lives because of it. Because police brutality has been and continues to be an issue for society, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has devised a plan on how to prevent police misconduct.
The NOPD developed a program called EPIC, which stands for Ethical Policing Is Courageous and it is “a peer intervention program developed in collaboration with community partners to promote a culture of high-quality and ethical policing.” The program is geared toward educating, empowering, and supporting officers “on the streets to play a meaningful role in “policing” one another.” Aside from that, the program also teaches officers how to intervene to stop a wrongful action before it occurs.”
In 2017, Nola.com shared a few role-playing tactics the program used to help instruct NOPD officers on how they can best handle similar situations. One scene involved an officer yelling at his partner, “goading him to take a boot to the suspect trapped under his knee.” Rather than take advantage of the vulnerable individual lying on the floor in handcuffs, the officer responds with “It’s not worth it!” He then looks to the other officers present “ensuring none of them take advantage of the officer’s suggestion.” Aside from providing officers with a visual on how they should handle a situation, they also recommend that officers intervene when they see a colleague displaying any type of behavior that could potentially lead to them taking it out on an innocent person they come in contact with.
For example, if an officer witnesses one of their colleagues “take his frustration out on his computer keyboard,” he/she might suggest that they call the social worker in the NOPD’s Officer Assistance Program to help him better deal with his issues rather than take them with him when he is dispatched to a call.
What else does EPIC strive to do?
Aside from instructing NOPD officers on how to best handle a situation when out on a call, the program “strives to redefine police culture so that intervention to prevent or stop harmful action is not an exception to good team-work; it is the very definition of good teamwork.” Aside from police misconduct being an issue for both the department and the community, another problem is most officers won’t ever report when their colleague engages in illegal or inappropriate behavior. That means many cases of police brutality go unrecognized. However, given the resources the program offers, it allows those who might witness a disgruntled or stressed police officer an opportunity to refer them to someone in the program who is available to assist them and address their issues before they escalate into something more serious.
Although the EPIC program was designed to combat police misconduct, it won’t prevent all NOPD officers from engaging in inappropriate behavior. Therefore, if you are a victim of police brutality and are looking for your own way to combat the issue, consider retaining a New Orleans, LA police brutality attorney. They can help you understand what options you have in terms of addressing the situation and even determine if you are entitled to recover compensation for the damages your encounter with an officer has caused you to suffer.
To get connected with the best police misconduct lawyers in the New Orleans area, contact USAttorneys.com today.