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Chokeholds banned, de-escalation tactics now required by New Milford Police

The New Milford Police Department has been going through the state accreditation process, which requires departments conform to 126 professional standards. 

Chief Spencer Cerruto announced to the Town Council this week that the use-of-force policy no longer allows chokeholds and instead requires de-escalation tactics.  Cerruto is requiring verbal and nonverbal skills, noting that body language, tone of voice and respect are important in de-escalating a situation. 

Cerruto has condemned the actions and inactions of the Minneapolis officers involved with George Floyd’s death.  Cerruto has pledged to review all of the department’s policies and training procedures.  He also hopes to schedule a public listening session or workshop when large gatherings can happen safely. 

Cerruto has been on the job about a year and a half.  He's looked into getting body worn cameras and believes there are many pros to that type of system.  But he says it would cost about $50,000 to cover the 50 officers and implement the program.  There are also annual costs associated with the program.  New Milford is looking into grant opportunities for the program. 

Cerruto noted that there are cameras in police cruisers that record motor vehicle stops, any time the emergency lights are activated.  There's also video in the cell block and police station.

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