The Athens Police Department is enhancing some of its procedures concerning the use of force, while clarifying others.

Chief Buddy Hill gave the City Council an update on additions and enhancements to the department policy on Monday during a spot on the agenda set aside to address issues of safety and public safety.

Hill said the policy should remind the officers of the need for de-escalation of the situation.

"The goal of conflict resolution is to implement de-escalation techniques," Hill said.

Notable in the policy is a prohibition of strangle holds with the exception of situations where the officer has to employ them to protect himself or others.

"We have prohibited those as a means of incapacitating a subject unless there are no other alternatives," he said.

A separate section of the policy was created concerning the duty to intervene when they see an officer using excessive force.

"They have a duty to step in and stop that, either by verbal interaction or physical interaction and also they have a duty to report that," Hill said.

APD has previously banned firing at a moving vehicle, unless the vehicle is being used as a weapon.

Hill said the revised policy has been printed and distributed to the officers.

In June, Athens was the scene of two peaceful protests concerning complaints about excessive force by policemen in other cities. Following the protests, Mayor Monte Montgomery asked for the review of APD procedures.

"I think we, as a council, need to be proactive rather than sitting around and watching the rest of the nation," Montgomery said.

He said Monday that in his more than six years in Athens government that has not appeared to be an issue with APD.

“I believe the officers are community friendly and I think they've done a good job of getting it that way," he said.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has described use-of-force as the “amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.”

Levels of force can range from physical restraint to deadly force, depending on the situation an officer faces.

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