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IACLEA Issues New Standards on Safe Policing

The IACLEA Accreditation Commission is preparing to release a new edition of the IACLEA Accreditation Standards Manual this spring. The forthcoming 5th edition of the IACLEA Standards Manual includes new as well as revised standards. The Accreditation Commission has had the standards under review since July 2020. Agencies in the Accreditation program will transition to the new edition over time consistent with their Accreditation anniversary.

Prior to the release of the entire 5th edition, the Commission is releasing nine standards (six new and three modified) that align with Standards for Certification on Safe Policing for Safe Communities, the executive order President Trump issued following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. All agencies in the IACLEA Accreditation Program are expected to comply with these standards by September 1, 2021. After this date, assessors will verify compliance consistent with any agency’s next recurring assessment.

These standards, developed by and for campus public safety professionals, reflect best practices that every campus police and public safety agency should aspire to meet for the benefit of their campus community and agency officers alike. The standards ensure that law enforcement agencies continue striving to provide transparent, safe, and accountable delivery of services to communities. This delivery will enhance community confidence in law enforcement and facilitate the identification and correction of internal issues before they result in injury to members of the public or law enforcement officers.

“The IACLEA Accreditation Commission has issued new standards on use-of-force, certain restraints, and duty to intervene, among other tactics about which the public has raised concerns,” said IACLEA Accreditation Commission Chair Jessica Luedtke, assistant director at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Public Safety. “Commissioners believe adherence to these best practices will improve both safety and community relations.”

New Standard

2.1.4    Duty to Intervene

The agency has a written directive that establishes a duty to intervene for all agency employees to either stop, or attempt to stop, another member of the agency when they witness abuse of power, excessive force, sexual harassment, and other behaviors as specified by the agency that may be in violation of agency policies or local, state, or federal laws.

Commentary: Examples of when a duty to intervene may be required include excessive force, theft, fraud, sexual misconduct, harassment, falsifying documents, and other inappropriate behavior as determined by the agency.  All employees benefit when potential misconduct is not perpetrated or when a potential mistake is not made.  Preventing misconduct preserves job security and the integrity of all employees and the agency.  Agencies should consider including in their written directive that employees:         

  • Ensure that medical attention has been rendered if aid is required by any individual;
  • Take a preventive approach, whenever possible, if observing behavior that suggests another member is about to conduct unethical or inappropriate behavior;
  • Take an active approach to intervene to stop any unethical behavior or misconduct when such conduct is being committed by another member;
  • May verbally or physically intervene;
  • Document an incident when a physical intervention was performed;
  • Immediately notify a supervisor after conducting any type of intervention, when safe to do so; and
  • May be subject to disciplinary action, civil liability, and/or criminal prosecution should they fail to intervene.

Modified Standard

2.2.4    Search and Seizure with a Warrant

A written directive governs the execution of judicial and public safety orders including subpoenas and search warrants by sworn officers, including the use and execution of no-knock warrants.

Commentary: The directive should also contemplate those times when outside agencies serve subpoenas and search warrants on campus, and what protocols the agency has in place when that occurs. Federal privacy laws pertaining to student records should also be addressed when developing the directive. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally requires that search warrants for student records not be executed until the student whose records are the target of the search is notified and has an opportunity to respond.  However, there are several exceptions, and the directive should ensure the agency identifies and complies with the requirements based upon the specifics of the order.  It is appropriate for the agency to document the assessment and determination related to compliance for potential future audit or challenge.

New Standard3.1.3    Personnel Early Intervention System (E)

A written directive establishes a personnel Early Intervention System to identify agency employees who may require early intervention efforts. The system shall include procedures for:

  1. Agency reporting requirements of conduct and behavior;
  2. Provisions to initiate a review based on current patterns of collected material;
  3. The role of first and second level supervision;
  4. Remedial action;
  5. Some type of employee assistance such as peer counseling, etc.; and
  6. Documented annual evaluation of the system.

Commentary: A comprehensive personnel Early Intervention System (EIS) can identify an escalating pattern of conduct that can be mitigated prior to a more serious case of misconduct.  The early identification of problematic conduct, coupled with remedial actions, can increase agency accountability, and offer employees opportunities to address conduct or underlying problems. The agency should determine the types of conduct and incidents that will comprise the EIS, and can include: employee performance evaluations, citizen complaints, disciplinary actions, use of force incidents, internal affairs investigations and findings, violation of rules/policies, workmen's compensation claims, and traffic accidents.  Remedial actions can include training, discipline, peer counseling or referral to a formal employee assistance program.  The first and second levels of supervision are crucial elements to a successful EIS and should be emphasized in agency policies and reinforced with training and education.

Modified Standard

7.1.1    Reasonable Force

A written directive recognizes/affirms the sanctity of human life. The directive stipulates that officers shall use only the force that is objectively reasonable to accomplish lawful objectives in accordance with state law and apply de-escalation techniques when possible.

Commentary: The agency may prohibit the use of force in some circumstances that would otherwise be permissible under state law.  It is recommended that agencies employ a “Use of Force Continuum, “wheel” or “level” as a guide in the progressive application of force in response to a subject’s action. A comprehensive directive is one that addresses all issued lethal and less-lethal weapons authorized by the agency and weaponless force, to include de-escalation techniques at a level defined by the agency.  It is important to emphasize that use of force is not limited to just firearms and for this reason the standard applies to all officers.

New Standard

7.1.4 Firearms and Moving Vehicles

A written directive establishes that firearms shall not be discharged from a moving vehicle except in articulable exigent circumstances, and firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle except under the following circumstances:

  1. A person in the vehicle is threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle; or
  2. The vehicle is operated in a manner deliberately intended to strike an officer or another person, and all other reasonable means of defense have been exhausted, which includes moving out of the path of the vehicle.

Commentary: The use of firearms under such conditions often presents an unacceptable risk to innocent bystanders and officers. The directive should clearly articulate the circumstances when shooting at a moving vehicle is the most appropriate and effective use of force.

New Standard

7.1.5    Vascular Neck Restrictions

If the agency allows use of a vascular neck restriction, a written directive defines the conditions when permissible and includes specific initial and annual training requirements on the technique and associated policy.

Commentary: If vascular neck restrictions are prohibited by state or local law agency policy should explicitly reinforce this prohibition. If vascular neck restrictions are an authorized method of force for your agency, the directive should address circumstances when the restraint is permissible.  Annual use of force training (see Standard 7.1.9) should include training for techniques for vascular neck restriction and officers should demonstrate proficiency.

New Standard

7.1.6    Choke Holds

A written directive prohibits the use of any technique restricting the intake of oxygen for the purpose of gaining control of a subject unless deadly force would be considered reasonable.

Commentary: If choke holds are prohibited by state or local law agency policy should explicitly reinforce this prohibition.

New Standard

7.1.7    Electronic Control Weapons (ECW)

If the agency uses electronic control weapons a written directive addresses:

  1. Qualified and authorized ECW users;
  2. Required training for qualified and authorized users;
  3. Situations when the weapon can and cannot be used;
  4. Risks associated with the weapon; and
  5. Reporting and accountability.

Commentary: ECWs are just one of several tools that police have available to do their jobs, and they should be considered one part of an agency’s overall use-of-force policy. In agencies that deploy ECWs, officers should receive comprehensive training on when and how to use ECWs.  Agencies should monitor their own use of ECWs and should conduct periodic analyses of practices and trends.  Like any weapon, they are not harmless, and the potential for injury can be exacerbated by inappropriate use and deployment of the devices on elevated-risk populations, including those who reasonably appear or are known to be elderly, medically infirm, pregnant, users of internal cardiac devices, or who have low body mass, such as small children,

persons in medical/mental crisis, and persons under the influence of drugs (prescription and illegal) or alcohol.

Modified Standard7.1.9        Medical Aid after Use of Force

A written directive requires that appropriate medical aid be rendered as quickly as reasonably possible following any use of force action in which obvious injuries have been sustained, medical distress is apparent, or the individual is unconscious; and includes procedures for activating the emergency medical system.

Commentary: Not every use of force incident must result in treatment of the subject at a medical facility.  In cases where verbal direction and soft-empty hand controls were used the subject may only need to be observed by agency personnel. The policy should address agency procedure if the arrestee is complaining of pain or requesting medical attention.  However, in circumstances in which hard empty hand controls, impact weapons, Electronic Control Weapons (ECW), or chemical irritant spray have been used, any person may need to be examined and/or treated by emergency medical personnel on scene. For example, if an ECW has been deployed, the policy must address appropriate medical aid, to check for any closed -head injuries due to the fall (see Standard 7.1.7).


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