Police Commissioner Branville Bard today issued an order, effective immediately, that requires “all sworn members of the Cambridge Police Department present at any scene where physical force is being applied, to either stop, or attempt to stop, another member of the Department when force is being unreasonably applied or is no longer required.”
Previously, officers who witnessed fellow officer using excessive force only had to report it to a superior officer, not to intervene. Now:
When conduct is being committed by another member, officers are ordered to take an active approach to verbally or physically intervene to stop any unethical behavior or misconduct committed by another member in the Department.
In a statement, Bard said:
Over the last two weeks, we have closely scrutinized our policies and procedures in light of the various reform measures that are being proposed around the country such as those outlined in the 8 Can’t Wait project. While we feel that most, if not all, of our policies directly align with the spirit of what is being asked for in the recommendations, an area where we felt we could be more explicit was the duty to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers.
The new order gives some examples of when one officer might intervene against another:
You observe an officer strike an individual without any reason. If appropriate, you could tell the officer to “cool it” or that you’ll take over the matter and have them step aside. If necessary, step in between the officer and the individual or hold the officer back in order to stop him/her from inflicting more unreasonable force.