A committee that is reviewing the Honolulu Police Department’s use of force policy is considering renaming the policy itself to the “response to resistance” policy.

The name change is among a number of ideas being considered for a new policy planned for release by late August, according to Richard Parry, a Honolulu police commissioner and a member of the committee reviewing the policy.

“There was a debate about whether or not you’re just doing that for PR purposes, or whether it would actually mean something,” Parry said at the Honolulu Police Commission meeting on Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Richard Parry during 2020 January meeting.
Police Commissioner Richard Parry is helping to reevaluate Honolulu’s use of force policy. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, already use that nomenclature, he said.

“The argument to say you should do it is, it brings into the discussion other issues such as de-escalation training, which is not currently in the use of force policy,” Parry said. “On the other hand, you should call it what it is. This is the policy that talks about what happens when you use force, how you should use force, what sort of force, what circumstances. So maybe you shouldn’t try to sugarcoat what it really is.”

The use of force committee includes Parry, a legal adviser and representatives from HPD’s internal affairs office, training division and information technology divisions, Chief Susan Ballard told the commission last month.

Other areas being reviewed are tactics like the vascular neck restraint, which blocks blood flow to the brain and renders a person unconscious. Ballard temporarily halted the practice in June.

“We’ve been going through it page by page, item by item,” Parry said.

The committee is seeking public input via policecommission@honolulu.gov. You may also mail or drop off written comments at 1060 Richards St., Suite 170, Honolulu, HI 96813.

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