The Vallejo Police Department (VPD) has prohibited the use of the carotid control hold as a technique to restrain aggressive or resistant individuals.
On June 16, 2020, Chief of Police Shawny Williams issued a special order banning the use of the carotid control hold until further notice and has suspended the “Carotid Control Hold” section of VPD’s Use of Force/De-Escalation Policy. The carotid control hold, a vascular neck constraint that does not restrict air flow when properly applied, had been previously permissible when necessary to restrain a violent or combative individual.
“This immediate ban of the carotid control hold is the right thing to do as our department focuses on assessment and reform,” said Chief of Police Williams. “I also think it’s important for the Vallejo community to know that the carotid control hold is not a stranglehold or a chokehold; those types of holds were never authorized by VPD and do not reflect our values as a department.”
The VPD ban on the carotid control hold comes following last week’s direction from Governor Newsom to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to cease law enforcement training on the Carotid Control Hold. As a result, California POST is currently considering proposed changes to decertify training of the carotid control hold.
Earlier this week, Chief of Police Williams presented a proposed plan for improving the department, based upon an evaluation conducted by the expert consultant OIR Group. While neither the OIR Group report nor the VPD proposed implementation plan address the carotid control hold specifically, the carotid control hold ban is consistent with the department’s proposed plan for increasing evaluation of uses of force. Visit the Vallejo Unites website to see the OIR Group report and the VPD proposed improvement plan.
In April 2020, under Chief Williams’ leadership, the VPD published an updated Use of Force/De-Escalation Policy in April 2020, including a revised section on De-Escalation that directs officers to avoid physical confrontations whenever possible. The department provides officers 32 hours of training each year on use of force and de-escalation, focusing on de-escalating situations whenever practical and using only the amount of force that reasonably appears necessary during a particular event.
The Vallejo Police Department and the City of Vallejo are seeking input from members of the Vallejo community, between now and July 31, 2020, regarding the proposed improvement plan. Members of the public can share their feedback by registering on the Open City Hall platform to submit their ideas, questions or concerns, and may also email VallejoPolicePIO@
cityofvallejo.net for more information.