Letter to the Editor

Greencastle Police share their standards

Thursday, June 18, 2020

To the Members of Our Community:

As the chief of police for the Greencastle Police Department, neither I nor the officers of this agency condone the appalling actions that took place on May 25 to George Floyd in Minneapolis.

As I have reviewed the video of George Floyd, it in no way represents the mission or our training in regard to use of force that is set out by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Officers are trained to use objectively only the reasonably necessary amount of force possible to gain compliance with the use of force continuum. The Greencastle Police Department takes great pride in building and maintaining positive working relationships with the members of our community.

The Greencastle Police Departmentís mission statement is as follows:

The Greencastle Police Department is dedicated to upholding the highest professional standards while serving the community in which we work and live. We are committed to the enforcement of laws to protect life and property, while also respecting individual rights, human dignity and community values. We are committed to creating and maintaining active police/community partnerships and assisting citizens in identifying and solving problems to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

We take great pride in providing high-quality professional police service to all members of our community no matter their race, color, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or gender identification or religion. As police officers we take an oath to serve and protect our communities, to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice. We do not allow or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence our decisions.

The Greencastle Police Department makes training of our police officers a high priority. Our Use of Force Policy outlines that officers are trained to use the only reasonably necessary amount of force possible to gain compliance as outlined in the use of force continuum. Our Use of Force Policy does not include, nor are our officers trained in, the use of chokeholds.

The Greencastle Police Department strives to hire the very best candidates to become a police officer with our agency. The hiring process is a long and thorough one as we conduct extensive background investigations along with conducting a psychological exam on all finalists for the position of police officer.

We strive to hire men and women who are professional, dedicated, honorable and of good character to our profession and to our community. After hire, continued training is essential. Officers have received Cultural Awareness Training and Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Training. Additional training on diversity and institutional bias scheduled for earlier this year will be rescheduled due to COVID-19.

The Greencastle Police Department understands the importance of being an important component of our community that values diversity. We protect citizensí rights to peacefully assemble, and we will continue to be a police agency that embraces working with all members of our community to include schools and universities, businesses, restaurants and factories from different backgrounds to make our community a better place to live.

Chief Thomas A. Sutherlin

Greencastle Police Department