HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - A citizen review committee met Tuesday to discuss proposed changes to Harris County Constables’ ‘Use of Force’ Policy. This is the first time, all eight constables have come to gather to co-author a new policy with the input of citizens.
"Today history was in the making," said Precinct One Constable, Alan Rosen.
A discussion was also held between community leaders. Eric Davis, who works for the public defenders office says, the proposed changes are revolutionary.
"It is a proposed policy that’s responsive to the community needs with best practices," said Davis. "There were some areas and parts that were revolutionary."
The proposed policy consists of many key changes including:
-Duty to intervene, meaning if an officer sees another doing something wrong, they have to per policy, intervene.
-Required reporting will be mandatory in any use of force case in the community,
-There are also requirements for accountability if there is a violation of the policy,
- And constables also have committed to de-escalation.
"One the most important things that came out today was from a citizen who said we can use education as a de-escalation tool when you train the public about our profession," said Rosen.
Community leaders championing the proposed policy because they say, it brings both sides of the criminal justice system to work together.
"This was a chance for people to be involved in what’s being put forth up-front and that is a game-changer, because that’s not how it usually works," said Tomaro Bell, Chair of the Duper Neighborhood Alliance.
Also at Tuesday’s conference, citizens were able to partake in an active shooter simulator.
For David Williams, it was an eye-opening experience, to see some of the responsibilities a badge could bring.
"You hear all the time why didn’t the officer shoot in the leg, that’s the movies," said Williams. "You don’t have time, you need to stop the threat immediately."
Constable Rosen says implementation of the new policy could happen soon, it first needs one final review from the county attorney’s office.