Statement on Use of Force & Community Engagement

In light of the tragic events which unfolded in Minneapolis recently, we want our citizens to know that the Sandy Springs Police Department (SSPD) has policies and procedures in place to prevent the type of incident that precipitated such events. As a State Certified Agency, SSPD has established policies and procedures that are reviewed constantly. Additionally, SSPD undergoes a thorough evaluation by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police every three years. All officers receive training annually on critical tasks including Use of Force, De-Escalation, Community-Oriented Policing, and Bias-Based Profiling, among others. Officers are provided opportunities for additional training to equip them with the knowledge they need or desire to help them make objective and principled decisions.

By policy, SSPD officers are forbidden to use any type of neck restraint except where lethal force is authorized and is deemed reasonable and necessary. Officers are trained in zone handcuffing where multiple officers dealing with an uncooperative person on the ground can safely apply handcuffs. None of these techniques include the use of knees or choking.

SSPD mandates each patrol officer to be equipped with a body worn camera. This is in addition to a dash camera and a prisoner rear-facing camera in each patrol vehicle. Officers are required to activate their body worn cameras during each encounter with a member of the public to accurately document the encounter. This includes all citizen contacts, arrests, and critical incidents. The body worn cameras are also used by SSPD to identify any internal issues that may need to be addressed, such as training, communications, policy compliance, customer service, officer safety, etc.

Since its inception in 2006, SSPD has worked at creating collaborative partnerships with all members of the community. We will always strive to be an example for others to follow. We are committed to hiring the most qualified, diverse, and educated persons to deliver the best quality service to the Sandy Springs community. We want the public to know that our officers will continue to treat people with dignity and respect, both of which are core principles of procedural justice and police legitimacy. We also pledge that we will hold officers not practicing these core principles accountable for their actions.

In order to aid with transparency, we encourage citizens to attend SSPD’s Citizens Police Academy (CPA), the Volunteers in Policing program (VIPS), and the Citizens on Patrol program (COP). To this date, we have graduated approximately 700 people from CPA and have over 50 active COPS and VIPS citizen volunteers.