There is enough conversation going on in national news about Use of Force by police departments to fill the Grand Canyon.
In public meetings Lakewood’s police chief, Mike Zaro, often asks the question, “What percentage of arrests do you think involve use of force?” Most citizens think police use force in about 50% of the arrests they make. Please continue reading to learn what the truth is.
It is my intention to share a few statistics from the City of Lakewood’s Lakewood Police Department 2015 Annual Report that I believe you will find meaningful.
CALLS FOR SERVICE: During the entire year of 2015, our Lakewood Police Department handled 59,298 calls for police service. That number includes 911 dispatched calls and calls self-initiated by the officers themselves.
As accountant Bill Sandstrom, LPA, a neighborhood philosopher from my 1950s childhood would say, “Do you realize our police calls for service almost equal one call for every man, woman and child living in our city?”
ARRESTS: Out of 59,298 calls for service, Lakewood Police Department made 2,679 arrests.
USE OF FORCE FOR ALL CALLS FOR SERVICE: Only .15% of all calls for service involved Use of Force, which equates to approximately 88 applications of force to bring about a lawful action. Use of force can range from grabbing an individual by the arm (hands on) to deploying a firearm (lethal force).
USE OF FORCE FOR ALL ARRESTS: Only 3.3% of all arrests involved Use of Force, which again equals about 88 applications of force to complete a lawful arrest.
Let’s spotlight that. We had 59,298 calls for service in 2015 with only 88 cases where we applied Use of Force.
LETHAL USE OF FORCE: In the year 2015, Lakewood Police Department used lethal force one time.
While I could write another 800 words on this subject, I am not going to do that because the above statistics says it all.
If society successfully educates our children and adults to respect authority and to comply with lawful police orders, we can bring the Use of Force applications down closer to zero.
In the mean time, our own City of Lakewood Police Department is doing an excellent job, don’t you agree?