Knoxville Police Department says it adheres to most policies of the ‘8 Can’t Wait’ project

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With attention focused on police use of force in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, the Knoxville Police Department said Friday it is in compliance with much of the policy recommendations of the “8 Can’t Wait” project, which aims to reduce deaths by police.

The 8 Can’t Wait website is a project of the nonprofit Campaign Zero, an advocacy group. It suggests eight policies that it claims could “decrease police killings by 72%.” The project began in 2015 and has been making open record requests across the country to get police policies.

“Most of the practices and policies recommended by the ‘8 Can’t Wait’ campaign are already in place at the Knoxville Police Department, including the exhaustion of all other means before resorting to the use of deadly force, required de-escalation, required reporting for instances of use of force, and policy and training that details when increased levels of force can be utilized,” Scott Erland, communications manager for the Knoxville Police Department, said.

He noted the department’s “Use of Force Policy” is publicly posted.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said Thursday she is beginning a review of KPD’s use of force policies and will release her findings. Her review is in response to a challenge to all U.S. mayors from My Brother’s Keeper, a group founded by former President Barack Obama. Kincannon said she made the decision to do the review in consultation with Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas.

“The KPD is reassembling its Use of Force Committee to review the policy and ensure that it is consistent with the best practices, including those of the ‘8 Can’t Wait’ campaign,” Erland said. “With input from city of Knoxville leadership and the public, the KPD is committed to developing policies that accurately address the concerns of our community and help safeguard and strengthen the trust of the residents we serve. “

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