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Ferndale Police Chief presented 2019 “use of force” & complaint data to City Council

Ferndale Police Department entrance (May 21, 2019). Photo: My Ferndale News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Ferndale Police Chief Kevin Turner made a presentation to the Ferndale City Council during their regular meeting on Monday, June 15th, that explained the department’s procedures and policies for hiring and training law enforcement officers. Then Turner provided 2019 statistics detailing the department’s reported use of force incidents and complaints filed against the department.

Turner explained how “use of force” is defined and how every reported use of force incident is reviewed at multiple levels in the department.

Reportable use of force incidents include: use of verbal commands, basic physical control tactics, use of additional physical force (such as a hard take-down or striking the subject) and pulling a Taser or firearm from its holster.

According to Turner, police contacted citizens on 12,963 occasions in 2019. Of those contacts, 35 involved use of force by officers.

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Details on the use of force reports in 2019 are as follows (more than 1 may apply to an incident):

IncidentsDescription of force used
33Verbal commands
25Basic control tactics
1Additional physical force
4Taser drawn but not discharged
10Firearm drawn but not discharged

Turner said there were no injuries reported by the subjects involved in the 2019 incidents.

Turner clarified that officers, as a matter of practice, will unholster their firearm while responding to a burglary or robbery in progress or when clearing a building after an alarm has been set off. These all get reported even when they are not being pointed at a subject.

On average in 2019, Ferndale Police had 1 use of force incident out of every 370 contacts with citizens.Ferndale Police Chief Kevin Turner (June 2020)

In 2019, Turner also reported, there were a total of 9 complaints received by the department that resulted in internal investigations. The outcomes of complaints filed in 2019 are as follows (more than 1 outcome may apply to a complaint):

ComplaintsOutcome of investigation
2Complaint sustained
1 was a parking complaint and the other regarding misuse of a city vehicle
4Department/officer was exonerated
6Determined to be unfounded

On average in 2019, Ferndale Police had 1 sustained complaint out of every 6,481 contacts with citizens.Ferndale Police Chief Kevin Turner (June 2020)

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