CHARLOTTE — The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that it is changing its “Use of Force” policy and is removing the use of tear gas from that policy.
>> Prisons and jails are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus because so many people are confined in a small space. Anchor Damany Lewis asked Sheriff McFadden about how his jail is handling the virus, watch the video at the top of this webpage to see the interview.
The use of chemical irritants such as tear gas, especially during times of civil unrest, has been a standard for law enforcement as a less-than-lethal use of force option. With tensions mounting between law enforcement and the communities they serve, the Sheriff’s Office said, “it was prudent to take another approach in response to the pain, frustration and national outcry against police brutality.”
Sheriff Garry McFadden made the decision to remove tear gas from the Sheriff’s Office arsenal, saying, “I would rather have meaningful conversations and engagement that build relationships and bonds with the community so that tear gas never has to be used. Throughout the past two weeks I’ve heard the cries of the community and during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting our citizens is vital.”
The MCSO said it will continue to focus on purposeful engagement which is one of the key law enforcement strategies of the 21st Century Policing Model.