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Huntsville police encourage de-escalating situations while taking someone into custody

At the Huntsville police station, officers are trained to evaluate a situation, de-escalate it and then use non-lethal tools, like tasers, only if necessary.

Posted: May 30, 2020 5:03 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2020 8:14 AM

We are learning what non-lethal tools and methods Huntsville police can use to respond to potentially dangerous situations. This comes as protests spread across the United States in reaction to the killing of George Floyd.

At the Huntsville police station, officers are trained to evaluate a situation, de-escalate it and then use non-lethal tools, like tasers, only if necessary.

"We just need both the community and the officers to work together," said Huntsville resident, Kannadi Johnson.

Johnson says after seeing what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, he wants to see change.

"To kneel on a man's neck, that's wrong on so many levels," said Johnson.

"We have to treat people civilly and address it in a legal way," said Huntsville resident, Sharon Brown.

Huntsville police officers say they are trained to do just that.

"We actually want to start with a verbal de-escalation. That's what we use the most," said Lt. Michael Johnson with the Huntsville Police Department.

Huntsville police tell WAAY 31 when it comes to taking someone into custody, they are taught to use non-lethal tools only when necessary.

"O-C spray, the taser, the baton, which is actually more of a distraction," said Johnson.

Police say it's an officer's responsibility to monitor the health and safety of someone in custody.

"Once the cuffs go on, you have to pay attention. You have to pay attention," said Johnson.

Huntsville police say after events like the killing in Minneapolis, they typically reevaluate their procedures. Johnson says they're looking at when that department conversation can happen.

Huntsville police say other law enforcement agencies across the country will most likely also have meetings about safely taking people into custody.

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