On Monday, June 8, Greensboro Police Chief Brian James announced some modifications to Greensboro Police Department (GPD) policy following the concerns expressed by many people in the community.

At a press conference James said that the GPD does not teach or train its officers to use chokeholds or strangleholds and prohibits the use of force that restricts breathing or disruption of blood flow, but the GPD went one step further and as of today prohibits those restraint methods.

He said, “Let me be clear those methods were never authorized, but this morning we put in a policy specifically addressing chokeholds to assure that that language is clear and so the public knows that we do not authorize chokeholds.”

Another policy that the GPD is clarifying has to do with the actions of other police officers.

James said, “This morning, GPD modified its policy to specifically require that any time an officer witnesses an excessive use of force, they have a duty to intervene verbally and/or physically to interrupt that act, and they must notify their supervisor so that the appropriate administrative and/or criminal investigation can begin.”

James noted that Greensboro police officers are trained to “employ de-escalation techniques” whenever possible and when they have to resort to force to use the least amount of force necessary.

James said that he had been in contact with the Greensboro Police Officers Association about providing enhanced access to mental health and counseling services for officers and that the department plans to add a policy requiring a psychological assessment every five years.

James said that currently an officer receives a psychological assessment when hired and after being involved in a critical incident such as a shooting, but he said he wanted to expand that to have officers receive an assessment every five years and also provide enhanced access for officers to receive counseling if needed.

James said, “When we receive community concerns we are always willing to review our policies and analyze whether changes are in order, we will continue to listen and engage in productive dialogue into the future.”