190620-nrr-shootertraining-01 (copy)

With Roseburg Police Cpl. Todd Crouse looking on, left, Myrtle Creek police officer Sam Birch, center, and Sutherlin Police Capt. Kurt Sorensen search for an active shooter inside South Umpqua High School during a multi-agency training exercise in 2019.

Roseburg police want to inform citizens about how the department implements the use of force.

Last week, the department held a meeting at the Roseburg Public Safety Center to talk to citizens about use of force issues and find out what the public’s concerns are. It was hosted by Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein and Officer Todd Crouse. Crouse is the lead use of force trainer for Roseburg police officers.

Klopfenstein said the purpose of the meeting was to get the word out about how Roseburg police handle use of force situations compared to other parts of the country and to help build trust and confidence between the police department and the community.

Crouse said showing people how the police train to respond to different situations and answering questions can help, and maybe even reveal deficiencies in training.

“I think this allows people, instead of just assuming, to just come and ask the questions straight, what you do and how are you doing it,” Crouse said.

The controversy over appropriate force came to a head when George Floyd died in police custody on May 25, in Minneapolis, when an officer held Floyd down with a knee on his neck for more than 8 minutes.

“That’s not a failure, that’s a travesty,” Klopfenstein said. “When that happens, all of us who are worth our salt, just cringe because we know, one officer or group of officers make an awful, awful choice, and we are going to pay for that for years to come.”

Klopfenstein said if RPD officers get into a struggle with a suspect, they are trained to use reasonable force and then provide care for the prisoner.

“As soon as we get heads up on somebody, you set them up as soon as you can get them up on their feet, offer them water, and because we’ve had some kind of force, always call medical,” Klopfenstein said.

Crouse said de-escalation techniques are taught and officers are taught to verbally warn a suspect before shooting, if they have time. But he added that they don’t always have time.

“If they’ve pulled a gun and it’s escalating, if the expectation is that I will sit there and warn you that I’m going to shoot you now, is that reasonable?” Crouse said. “The point is if they pull a gun, do I have time to warm them.”

House Bill 4203-A was signed by Gov. Kate Brown after the special session of the state Legislature, is now law. It bans chokeholds, which didn’t sit well with Crouse.

“If you choke someone long enough, you will kill someone,” Crouse said. “But Roseburg trains (a control hold) that you can control someone around the neck and not ever choke them out. But guess what, wrapping your arm around the neck is now a chokehold, no matter what.”

Crouse said the control hold was a weapon that he used to avoid the use of deadly force.

A small crowd of about 10 people attended the two-hour meeting last Wednesday, but Klopfenstein said if there is more interest from the public, more meetings will be scheduled.

Anyone interested in attending one of the classes should contact Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch at the Roseburg Police Department at 541-492-6760.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Reporter

Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

(8) comments

S

THERE IS NEVER A REASON FOR A CHOKEHOLD. PERIOD. How was this meeting announced? Would have attended if it was publicized.

Roseburg Reader

Actually, there is. If you were educated on police tactics you would understand and if you heard some of the stories where a choke hold saved a police officer's life , while the life of the suspect was saved, then you would have a better understanding. The only other alternative to a violent situation is to use deadly force. A choke hold to subdue a suspect until he can be placed into custody is much better than shooting the suspect. Everyone is always up in arms about police shootings. A tool used to prevent that has now been banned and so less tools to prevent deadly force will only result in more deadly force being used.

Mike

I'm not opposed to police utilizing a choke hold at their discretion. I just think the "qualified immunity" and "officers bill of rights" should be repealed so officers who choose to continue choking someone for 8 minutes after they've passed out can be fired and put in prison. Right now, both of those laws prevent that from happening.

Mike

Did the class instruct citizens about why officers need "qualified immunity" and "officer bill of rights" laws that protect law enforcement officers from being fired or sued?

Did the class educate citizens about H.R. 7085, a bill introduced June 3 by Congressman Justin Amash of Minnesota to eliminate law enforcement's "qualified immunity?" H.R. 7085 pits police reform advocates against politically active unions representing police officers and, by implication, the politicians and candidates supported by those unions. Unless these topics were discussed, the discussion on police use of force is meaningless.

Roseburg Reader

If you want to know these things, then go to a future meeting. RPD has always welcomed the concerns and questions of citizens. Don’t make assumptions until you hear the answers first hand.

Mike

Maybe you can tell me where these meetings are advertised and I will indeed attend these meetings. I haven't seen anything posted about the meeting until it was already over.

Roseburg Reader

I have to admit that I can't remember everywhere I read it, but I do remember reading it several times. If you "like" Roseburg Police Department on Facebook, you will see any announcements they make. Or you can just look at their page if you don't want to follow them. DCSO also has a Facebook page. I also received an email because I have signed up to receive the patrol logs. Go to the city of Roseburg website and click on the police department. I believe you can sign up through that. I have also signed up for Flash Alert. You can pick the agencies and departments throughout the state of Oregon and you will get notifications from those agencies on anything happening, including incidents and emergencies. There are several ways to stay informed, but yes, you have to make the effort. I also believe I read it in the News Review.

Mike

I searched the News-Review public notices and did a search on Roseburg Police and there was no mention of this class. As far a I know, social media is not a lawfully accepted method for public noticing. If the Roseburg wanted people to attend they would have published it in the News-Review. I'm not much of a facebook guy so I guess I missed it.

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