Saginaw Sheriff’s Office Gives County Officials Use of Force Demonstration

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SAGINAW, MI – Fists were flying and people were attacked at the last Saginaw County Commissioners Council meeting – but the heckling was not caused by the commissioners fighting over agenda items. Instead, members of the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office hosted an educational presentation on physical dismantling techniques used in the field.

On Tuesday, August 25, Sgt. Herb VanRiper, Deputy Matthew Henry and Deputy Tyler Hall of the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office set the stage under the direction of Deputy Sheriff Miguel Gomez to demonstrate to Commissioners the techniques and movements used in situations requiring the use of force.

Gomez explained that the sheriff’s office and the Saginaw County official met earlier this month to discuss the use of force policy, which ultimately led to Tuesday’s protest.

“They put this in place for today so that everyone can see in person what we do, what we are trained for,” he said.

The protest comes at a time of national unrest due to recent events surrounding incidents between police and civilians.

Chairman of the Council of Commissioners Michael Webster said recent events across the country, such as the recent incidents where Jacob Blake was shot in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis. On Sunday August 23, and the death of the Minneapolis resident George Floyd after a police officer knelt on his neck, so now is a good time for county officials to begin to understand Saginaw County’s use of force policy.

“So that really got us thinking, hey, how are we different in this community and what kind of practices do we have in place to ensure that nothing like this happens in our community,” Webster said.

A blue carpet was laid on the floor in front of the Council of Commissioners, which met in the Red Room at The Dow Events Center.

As Hall and his fellow officers executed their movements smoothly, Gomez said as a warning that this is not what happens when people resist in real life.

“It looks ugly, it looks ugly, the movements are ugly,” he said. “But we are trained and we are trying to get it over with as soon as possible so that the ugliness stops.”

Techniques that were demonstrated and performed on Hall ranged from simple handcuff maneuvers to precision pressure point manipulation techniques. In the meantime, Gomez explained to the board of directors the use of force policy and tactics of the sheriff’s office.

“What we normally use is a tactic called PPCT, pressure points and control tactics. Everything is based on respect for pain, ”he said. “So when someone doesn’t want to do what we want them to do, we inflict pain on them until they can’t take the pain anymore and they comply. “

PPCT targets specific nerves in the body in areas such as the legs, forearms, and shoulders to achieve the desired reaction.

“If you hit those nerves, we can normally get a reaction whether a weapon is dropped or the force used to keep your arm from going behind your back decreases,” Gomez said.

Gomez also stressed during the presentation that his assistants must constantly communicate with the subject so that they are aware of what is going on. Hall was ordered to comply by his fellow MPs before being subjected to the use of force techniques during the protest.

“If there is no conversation, all you do is fight,” he said. “And that’s not how they’re trained at the police academy and that’s not how they’re trained by us, and we try to refresh everyone every two years.”

As part of the protest, Gomez explained to the Council of Commissioners how the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office uses a continuum of force, which he described as a type of pyramid with the least force at the bottom and the most force all the way up.

“So when we normally get there, when I get out of the car and put my hat on and walk to a door or walk towards a group of people, the first step in that force continuum is my presence – my badge, the way I wear myself, the fact that my boots are shiny and my uniform is clean, “he said.” I let you know or I let them know I know what I’m doing. C “is a use of force. Then it goes from there to unarmed techniques, to impact weapons, to tasers, to lethal force.

According to Gomez, Saginaw County MPs are allowed to go one step higher in the force continuum than the suspect’s behavior.

“If this person starts fighting with us, we are allowed to use our training to defend ourselves,” he said. “If that person pulls out a gun, I’m allowed to pull out a gun that would be a step higher. “

The Council of Commissioners was also told during the protest that MPs are required to complete paperwork whenever they use anything on the continuum in addition to minimal use of force.

With voters in the August 4 primary election approving a six-year mileage increase and renewal that will generate $ 8.6 million in its first year for the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office, the agency plans to use Lexipol LLC for its policies and procedures. Lexipol is a California-based company that provides policies to public safety agencies across the country.

Gomez briefed the Commissioners at the meeting on how Lexipol would help increase accountability within the department. He explained that the sheriff’s office would be able to access a web platform that tracks who is accessing training and that it will periodically release policy tests and quizzes to users.

“Lexipol will help us to hold people accountable and there is no way that any part of the police action that is being carried out across the country will be carried out in accordance with policy and procedures, it is outside of these policies and procedures of these agencies, ”he said. “And so it would help discipline these people – but these people who follow the policies and procedures, it will help defend them. Not just the sheriff’s officers but the county in general. I believe that is vital.

The push to add the Lexipol system to Saginaw County is part of Sheriff William L. Federspiel’s plans to use mileage funding for upgrades like more MPs and live body cameras.

Related news:

Saginaw County Sheriff explains plans to hire more MPs, add live body cameras

Saginaw County Voters Approve Tax Increase to Support Sheriff’s Department

Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel wins 2020 Democratic primary

Police discuss tactics, diversity and George Floyd’s death with the Saginaw community

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