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'Step In The Right Direction': Every Bucks County Police Department Adopting Same Use Of Force Standards

WARMINSTER, Pa. (CBS) -- For the first time, every police department in Bucks County is adopting the same use of force standards. Police chiefs from all across Bucks County met Wednesday morning and announced they're working to have a more unified approach to policing.

District Attorney Matt Weintraub says it was a long time coming.

"The key to public safety, in my opinion, is transparency," Weintraub said.

Weintraub, with dozens of police chiefs by his side, announced all law enforcement agencies in the county are adopting the same use of force standards.

"The police must hold themselves to the highest standards anytime they use force with the public. They can't even afford one mistake because mistakes can be deadly, as we know," Weintraub said.

The standards emphasize officers should deescalate situations, if possible. The policies also cover firearms, batons, chokeholds and more.

"For so many different departments, everyone had their own policy. But we felt it was necessary everyone in Bucks County have the same basic principles," Bensalem Police Department Director Fred Harran said.

The use of force standards also say officers have a duty to intervene if another officer uses unnecessary excessive force. In all, 39 Bucks County police departments are adopting the policies.

"We thought this was a good idea just to share those principles so everyone was acting with the same guidelines here in Bucks County," Upper Southampton Township Police Chief Ronald MacPherson said. "I think it's unprecedented and I think it's a step in the right direction when people talk about police reform."

The chief also said Bucks County might be the only county in Pennsylvania to have every law enforcement agency adopt the same use of force policies.


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