Justice Department tells Fayetteville police: Improve use-of-force policies

— Federal officials are urging Fayetteville police to improve their use of force policies.

A series of recommendations by the U.S. Justice Department was released Wednesday afternoon at a news conference with First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bruce, Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson and Police Chief Harold Medlock.

The Justice Department said Fayetteville’s system does not provide accurate records on citizen complaints and officers’ use of force. It recommends a more comprehensive system, including demographic information on complainants and the use of force.

The report also says the department should prohibit officers from firing warning shots because of the possibility that innocent people get hurt and should emphasize de-escalating confrontations to steer them away from possible use of force.

Justice Department officials also called for more training of officers on community engagement and for continued review of traffic stops for racial disparities.

“I applaud Chief Medlock for stepping forward to take a more critical look at the Fayetteville Police Department’s use of force policies and interaction with the community,” Ronald Davis, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, said in a statement. “Through improved transparency, training, oversight and accountability, and community engagement, I am confident the department will see great improvement in its law enforcement policies.”

The report comes more than 18 months after Medlock requested an on-site review in an effort to determine how the police department can improve operations and community relations.

,Federal officials are urging Fayetteville police to improve their use of force policies.

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