Atascadero Police Department Answers to ‘8 Can’t-Wait’ •

On the 8th. June 2020, in response to police reform, the Chief of Police of Ataskadero, Jerel Hailey, provided the following information

The men and women of the Ataskadero police headquarters are guided by a number of principles. These doctrines have been codified for our department in the political direction of the Atasquadero police. The handbook was developed with the understanding that doing good is our greatest calling. What is said about this simply has a much deeper and more personal meaning for our officers. They understand that service, apart from ourselves, is our goal in striving for greater well-being for all residents. Each officer takes an oath to perform such services before he is allowed to wear a badge. We try to do this in a way that demonstrates the great value we attach to human life and preserves the dignity of all those with whom we come into contact.

The police department of Atasquadero is committed to providing professional services to every member of our community and constantly strives to improve the training of its staff to ensure that the level of services we provide complies with state legislation, recent court rulings, general practice and community expectations. Recently, the city of Atasquadero and its police were informed of a campaign developed by Campaign Zero using police violence known as 8 Can’t Wait. The current departmental policy is in line with many or all of the provisions of this initiative. The following are some of the strategies currently being implemented by the Atasquadero police in line with these eight pillars.

  1. Prohibition of asphyxiation and strangulation – The Ataxadero Police does not allow the use of asphyxiants. Despite its irregular use, well-trained personnel can use the carotid artery, subject to the restrictions laid down in our rules. This guideline can be found in section 300.3.4 of the Atasquadero Police Policy Manual. Governor Newsom recently limited the California Police Standards and Training Board (POST) to teaching carotid artery use.
  2. De-escalation of needs – De-escalation has been built into our department’s policy and practice for several years. De-escalation training is required as part of the POST training for perishable products, which our employees follow every two years. In addition to the perishable goods course, our officers receive de-escalation training as part of other in-service training courses, including the use of force, firearms and mental health crisis response. Guidelines 300.3.1, 308.9, 418.4(c), 466.5(b), 466.6 and 467.3(c) are an example of the language related to this topic and reflect the orientation and training of our employees.
  3. Warning requirements for firing – Atasquadero Police Department requires warnings to be given in some cases for the use of force, such as the use of kinetic energy developed by tasers (Directive 308.9.2). The use of lethal force is limited to cases where the combination of circumstances requires immediate action in accordance with Guideline 300.4(a), and officials should warn of the use of lethal force when possible in accordance with Guideline 300.4(b).
  4. Exploitation of all other means before firing – Directive 300.4 requires officials to consider other appropriate means for the use of force before deciding to use lethal force. Moreover, civil servants may not use lethal force against a person because of the danger he or she poses to himself or herself, if an objectively reasonable civil servant considers that the person does not pose an immediate threat of death or serious injury to the civil servant or any other person (Penal Code, Article 835a).
  5. Obligation to intervene – Directive 300.2.1 obliges our employees to intervene when they observe other employees with excessive force. The use of excessive force must also be reported immediately to the Director.
  6. Prohibition of shooting at moving vehicles – Shooting at moving vehicles is rarely effective and officers are generally discouraged from doing so. Staff are encouraged to use other methods to counter threats related to car traffic, such as the removal of vehicles prior to the use of force. Officials are also forbidden to use firearms to obstruct vehicles. All these provisions are part of our policy, in accordance with Article 300.4.1.
  7. Necessity of a power continuum – The concept of a power continuum is largely outdated and has been replaced by a more informed and scientifically based approach to the use of violence. Our agency has adopted a comprehensive approach to the use of force by our officials, which is reflected in Directive 300. Additional guidelines for our employees can be found in many other sections of our policy. Articles 306, 308, 309 and 312 are examples. Officers are also continuously trained in the use of violence, particularly the use of lethal force.
  8. Full reporting obligations – Employees must carefully and accurately document any incident involving the use of force. Workers should include in this report all factors which led them to believe that the use of force was appropriate in the circumstances, Directive 300.5. In addition to the use of violence, Atasquadero’s police management also provides our staff with instructions for the preparation of all other types of police reports. Examples of these guidelines can be found in Directive 344.

The full text of the Atascadero Policy can be found at

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