Police Department Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
• Are Urbana police officers trained in de-escalation techniques?
All Urbana police officers have been certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board; de-escalation is part of the curriculum. Almost all Urbana officers receive this initial 8 hours of classroom instruction training at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute during the basic academy phase of their initial training (14 weeks). Then, throughout the remainder of their academy time, the recruits are tested and evaluated on the principles and concepts during live-action scenario training.
Beyond this basic training, the department has incorporated a block of instruction into our annual in-service training. A member of the department is certified as an Advanced Verbal Defense & Influence instructor through VISTELAR https://vistelar.com/. (Please feel free to visit their website for information.) This refresher, which aims to teach different and improved techniques of de-escalation, communication, and conflict management, has been taught by our certified instructor as referenced above, as well as by Mike Schlosser, PhD, the director of PTI.
• Does the Urbana Police Department use chokeholds or strangleholds?
Chokeholds and strangleholds are not permitted by UPD policy in any case except where lethal force would be authorized. (See Use of Force policy section 300.4.2.)
• Are Urbana police officers required to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force?
Yes, Urbana police officers are required by policy and ethics to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force. (See Use of Force policy section 300.2.1.) Failure to intervene by an Urbana police officer would subject the officer to potential disciplinary proceedings.
• Are Urbana police officers restricted from shooting at moving vehicles?
Yes, Urbana police officers are restricted from shooting at moving vehicles. Officers are directed by policy to move out of the path of any approaching vehicle if possible. Officers may only discharge their firearm when there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others. (See Use of Force policy section 300.4.1.)
• Does the Urbana Police Department use a clear use of force continuum?
Yes, the Urbana Police Department uses the use of force continuum model that is taught at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute.
*See the Use of Force Scale graphic below.
• Are officers at the Urbana Police Department required to report uses of force or threatened uses of force?
Urbana police officers document uses of force in police reports. That documentation ranges from threats of use of pepper spray to pointing of a firearm at a person to engaging in defensive tactics. (See Use of Force policy section 300.5.)
• How are Urbana police officers selected and vetted for good moral character and conduct?
The selection process begins with a written test. Upon successful completion of that test, potential candidates are interviewed by a panel of police officers and civilian city employees. The candidate is then interviewed by the chief of police and deputy chief of police. Upon selection, the candidate is given a conditional offer of employment contingent upon successful completion of various medical exams, a psychological exam, and a background investigation. The background investigation includes interviews of people that might have information about the candidate’s character and conduct. If all of those steps are successfully completed, the candidate is sent to basic law enforcement training at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute.
• Are Urbana police officers trained to provide medical attention during a critical use of force?
Yes, Urbana police officers have received training on how to provide emergency medical attention. Urbana police officers also carry emergency medical supplies on either their person or in their squad cars. Our officers have been awarded many lifesaving awards saving victims of shootings, overdoses, or other medical events in the last several years.
• Do Urbana police officers wear and use body worn cameras?
Yes, Urbana police officers wear and use body worn cameras. This program has been in place since January of 2019, and all officers are issued body worn cameras for use when conducting law enforcement activity within the bounds of Illinois state statute. The Urbana Police Department has also had squad car video systems since at least 1993.
• Do Urbana police officers get anti-bias training?
Yes, Urbana police officers receive anti-bias training using several different external and internal instructors during our annual in-service training.
• How does the Urbana Police Department investigate and respond to reports of discrimination and misconduct by officers?
Complaints of this nature are assigned to supervisory staff to investigate. Interviews are conducted, including the involved subjects and officers, and video is reviewed, along with any other documentation that was generated. The results of the investigation are reported to the complaining person. The complainant does have the option to appeal the decision if they are unsatisfied.