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Joplin Police Release Annual Statistics - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Police Release Annual Statistics

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI - The Joplin police department released it's annual year-end report, Thursday.

The 39-page document compiles instances of police force, the types of force used.. As well as complaints against the department.

For the Joplin police department, nothing was too out of the ordinary in 2014.  

"We remained fairly consistent [since 2013] across the board," Cpt. Bob Higginbotham said. "Both with our use of force. And as well as how many complaints were made against our officers."

In the 2014 year-end report, police complaints slightly decreased. But overall stayed the same.

"We're always very focused on the reduction of complaints from citizens," Higginbotham said.

The instances of police force remained about the same from 2013.

"By in large, our use-of-force numbers get driven by behaviors on part of the community that we deal with," Higginbotham said. "So we're not always in control of those numbers."

But one thing officers have some control of, which saw a major change this year, is the *type* of force being used.

2014 saw a significant drop in officers actively pointing their firearms. Which the department says is due to a new policy when it comes to police pursuits.

"The older policy was a much more liberal policy," Higginbotham said. "Basically if [someone] ran, and we felt we could safely chase them, we did that. With the new policy, it has to be a very dangerous felony before we're going to engage in that pursuit."

Higginbotham says this policy is responsible for the amount of times officers pointed their firearm at someone decreasing from about 90 times in 2013, to 58 in 2014.

"Ultimately we have a great deal of influence with our own culture," Higginbotham said. "And i would say our next step is to closely look at our police culture and try to make all the improvements we can there." 

Click Here for the complete report.


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