With calls for police reform growing nationwide, Mamou's police chief is re-visiting the department's Use-Of-Force Policy. He's working to prevent deadly police encounters, by training his officers to value life.
"I believe my officers need to understand that human life is so valuable," police chief Brent Zackery said. "Just like they want to get home at night after a shift, those people want to be home after speaking with a police officer.The value of life is something they (the officers) have been taught , but It's just I have it now to where they sign it. They understand it. I teach it."
Zackery says there are different steps and techniques officers must make before even considering deadly force. While this policy is nothing new, he's doing his part to make sure it's strictly enforced.
"I've been in situations where deadly force would've been okay," Zackery said. "But, it was just that respect for human. It took an extra second to be like 'wait lets try to find a better alternative'.You can't take it back. Once you take a persons life you can't take it back."
He's making sure officers in his department understand that point. He says deadly force should be a last resort. He also says that his officers should call for back-up and try to diffuse situations first.
"Being in fear of your life is not getting beat up with 4 other officers trying to help you get this man off of you," Zackery said. "If the man is not grabbing on you, that wouldn't be considered deadly force to me. Put it like this, if ya'll are wrestling on the ground and then you shoot, no. If there's four of yall there, then ya'll should be able to subdue a suspect, unless he's(suspect) grabbing for a weapon or he (suspect) shoots."
He also says, choke-holds like the one used on George Floyd in Minneapolis should never be used..
"That's not police work," he said in regards to the George Floyd case. "I was never taught to go at any-one neck. You learn different pressure points to take down."
Zackery says he wants to build trust between the department and community
"I want them to know that whenever they're going to be dealt with by police department, they don't have to be in fear for their life," Zackery said.
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