The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is limiting its use of no-knock warrants and banning chokeholds in its activities as part of its updated use-of-force policy.
DHS said in a release Tuesday that it adjusted its policies to be in line with an executive order that President Biden issued in May that requires the department to meet or exceed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) guidance on use of force.
“Our ability to secure the homeland rests on public trust, which is built by accountability, transparency, and effectiveness in our law enforcement practices. Today’s policy announcement is designed to advance those essential values,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the release.
The updated policy also prohibits carotid restraints unless deadly force is authorized and updates requirements to collect and report data on the use of force.
And it bans the use of deadly force against someone who is only a threat to themselves or property, provides for “wellness resources” for officers involved in use-of-force incidents, and updates training in areas such as deadly force, less-than-lethal force, de-escalation techniques, duty to intervene and implicit bias and profiling.
The update comes after the DOJ announced similar policies on no-knock warrants and chokeholds in September 2021.
The DHS release states the updated policy came after conversations with stakeholders across the department and national labor organizations to ensure both law enforcement officials and community members are safe.
“Law enforcement agents and officers have profound responsibilities in their noble profession,” Mayorkas said. “We are grateful for the sacrifices they make every day and are confident that, working together, we can build safer and fairer processes to enforce our laws.”
Activists have renewed calls for lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would restrict chokeholds and no-knock warrants for federal officers, following last month’s death of Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop in Memphis.
The bill passed the House during the last session of Congress but stalled in the Senate.