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Elkhart County Pay Dirt 2024

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Where cultivation and construction meet. Tuesday, March 5th 2024 at 6 PM - 8 PM Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds 17746 CR 34 Goshen, IN 46528 The evening of Tuesday, March 5th the City will hold its annual Flood Resilience Public Meeting. This event is free and part of the paydirt conference.... more

Late-Winter Pruning

Friday, February 16, 2024

The Goshen Forestry Division will begin young tree pruning the week of February 19. Our initial focus will be on Oak trees in neighborhoods between Lincoln and Plymouth Avenues. Specifically, we will plan to work on street trees which the City planted in or near the right-of-way over the past 12... more

Community Relations Commission to host International Women's Day Luncheon

Thursday, February 15, 2024

The City of Goshen Community Relations Commission is hosting a luncheon on International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Goshen Theater to celebrate and honor women in the Goshen community.  “I’m looking forward to celebrating the women of Goshen and am grateful... more

Upcoming Events All »

Park Board Meeting

Today, 4:00pm

Public may join in person or virtually by following this link:

Downtown Goshen Economic Improvement District

Thursday, March 7, 2024, 7:45am

The regular meetings of the Downtown Goshen Economic Improvement District Board will take place on the first Thursday of each month, excepting July, as set forth in the schedule below. The meetings will be held in the conference room located in Goshen City Hall at 202 South 5th Street, Goshen, Indiana. All meetings of the Goshen Downtown Economic Improvement District Board are open to the public with the exception of an executive session that may be held as authorized by Indiana Code §5-14-1.5-6.1. The Board may schedule meetings in addition to those listed above as necessary, subject to public notice requirements.

Cemetery Board

Thursday, March 7, 2024, 2:00pm

Frequent Requests

Ban chokeholds and neck restraints in all cases

At the Goshen Police Department, we do not teach choke holds as a standard technique.  We also do not teach the LVNR (Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint), which is not a choke hold.  That being said, it must be understood that if an officer is fighting for his life, or the life of another, we teach them to use anything at their disposal.  This is no different than the message we give citizens when we are talking about defending against an Active Killer.  We expect no person, citizen or officer, to not defend their life using any means necessary.  Once the level of aggression has moved to lethal force, our officers have a right to use anything they can to defend their life, just as any citizen in Indiana does.

Require officers to de-escalate situations when possible, eliminating or reducing the need to use force

The Goshen Police Department already receives regular training in persuading individuals.  I say persuade, because ‘de-escalate’ is an outcome, not an individual skill.  It is also imperative to understand that successful ‘de-escalation’ of a situation may mean using force.  ‘De-escalation’ is not solely verbal skills, but a combination of verbal skills and multiple tactics when needed.  Please see the description of our Persuasion class for more detail.  We want voluntary compliance.  That is always our goal, as it is the goal of law enforcement across the country.  The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery published a research study in 2018 that showed out of 1,041,737 police contacts only .086% resulted in force (1 in 1167).  Out of criminal arrests it was only .078%.  Less than 1%.  You can see the study here.

In the Goshen Police Department alone we had well over 30,000 contacts with the public last year of which less than 50 resulted in anything more than compliant handcuffing.  That puts the department at .001% for using physical force.  What do these numbers mean?  The Goshen Police Department is extremely successful at ‘de-escalating’ when feasible.  What must be remembered is that an officer can do everything right, and sometimes it will not matter.  The subject they are dealing with will not comply.  Eliminating all uses of force is not realistically possible.

 Require officers to give a verbal warning before shooting  

A verbal warning before the use of deadly force has already been addressed the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1(1985).  The case link is below.

Part of the Court’s decision in this case was that “, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given.” Emphasis added.  This has been case law since the case was decided on March 27, 1985. 

We train our officers to use verbal commands with both firearms and physical tactics.  That being said, to make it a requirement to give a verbal warning before employing lethal force, without exception,  would not only be impossible to comply with, but it would not be in the best interests of the citizens. 

The impossibility of requiring a warning in every situation has to do with human performance, and limitations thereof.  We know from empirical research conducted by the Force Science Institute,, that an individual can remove a firearm from hiding in their waistband and fire one round in approximately .26 seconds.  We also know that there are limits to how fast a human can react to a change in their environment and then act to respond, which is effectively .30 seconds minimum.  If the officer is forced to verbalize a warning before using lethal force to defend himself, that time of .30 seconds will increase.  Each quarter second of time is another shot fired at the officer.  Assuming the officer can verbalize his warning in a second, 4 to 5 rounds could have already been fired at the officer. 

The reason it is not in the best interest of the citizens we protect to require a warning every time before using lethal force is because we may need to employ lethal force to save someone without knowledge of a suspect.  Just one example is an incident that occurred in a Walmart in 2013.  A man took a small child as a hostage and held a knife to the child.  Law enforcement attempted to negotiate with the subject, but he refused to.  Once he began a countdown an officer employed lethal force to end the situation and save the child’s life.  If the officer had been required to verbally warn the subject first, the encounter would have most likely ended with the death of the child.  A link to a news report of the incident is here.  This is just one example of when a required warning could further endanger one or more people.

Require officers to exhaust all other alternatives, including non-force and less-lethal force options prior to resorting to deadly force

This requirement ignores the legal right of an individual to defend themselves, officers, or others.  This requirement would mean that when our officers respond to a 911 call of someone committing mass homicide at a location (Active Killer), upon arrival, while that person is in the process of killing, our officers would first need to attempt verbal commands, then physical tactics with control holds, then physical tactics with hard strikes, then less lethal, all before responding with the appropriate level of force that was immediately apparent, which is lethal.  According to the FBI, Active Killer events average one person injured or killed every 15 seconds.  Even if we are totally unrealistic in our timeframe of determining that we have ‘exhausted’ all other alternatives before using lethal force than we are acknowledging that at least one if not more casualties happened only because we didn’t use the appropriate, and obviously necessary, force immediately. 

Even if it’s not a mass casualty event, it would still be unethical to require it.  It could be just one person who is the victim of violent and deadly force being perpetrated upon them by another.  Our officer(s) arrive on scene to see one subject violently stabbing another multiple times with a knife.  The requirement to ‘exhaust’ all options before using lethal force means that the chances of successfully stopping the violent attack in time to save the victim have lessened considerably, and the chance of the victim dying has increased significantly.  By always requiring all other attempts be ‘exhausted’ before using lethal force, even if it is obviously a lethal force call, it diminishes the victim’s rights and places the perpetrator’s safety above the victim’s. 

To add to the above, the court’s decision in US v. Drinski, 19 F.3d 1143 (7th Cir. 1994) states that if the actions of the suspect justify lethal force, there is no Constitutional duty to use a lesser alternative first.

We would never expect any citizen, if someone was attempting to end their life, to attempt to try using all other tactics before employing lethal force to defend themselves.  We don’t expect any of officers to either.  Our officers put themselves in danger on a regular basis to protect others.  Requiring this would undoubtedly increase the chance of injury or death to officers or the civilians they are trying to protect.   

Ban shooting at moving vehicles

Officers of the Goshen Police Department are trained in excess of the state requirements for firearms training.  One of the training points officers are constantly reminded of is the requirement to account for every round discharged.  Officers understand the difficulty of a moving target, especially one moving at speed.  The Goshen Police Department’s police on Police Vehicle Operating Guidelines, Policy 07 (2019), specifically states that using a firearm to attempt to deflate vehicle tires is prohibited.  What is allowed, is the use of lethal force to protect the life of the officer or anyone else.  This may be the only option an officer has to stop someone who is attempting to kill or seriously injure the officer or anyone else.  Eight law enforcement officers were intentionally struck with vehicles in less than 96 hours recently.  When you consider the fact that even smaller cars, like a Toyota Corolla, weigh in the neighborhood of 3000 pounds, it is easy to see how a vehicle can be used as a deadly weapon. I believe everyone remembers the incident in Charlottesville Virginia where Mr. James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd after a march. Ultimately Mr. Fields Jr. was charged with a hate crime but it still killed one person and left dozens more injured. Had an officer been at the location would we expect him or her to watch the killing occur or is it acceptable to have the officer neutralize the threat and possible save lives? Again, these unique situations can arise where officers must make the tough split second decisions on the force to use in response to situations they are confronted.       

Require officers to intervene and stop the use of excessive force by other

Two cases have already addressed this topic some time ago.  The first was Samuels v. Cunningham et al., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14479 (Dis. Del. 2003) and the second was Jones v. City of Hartford, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17340 (Dist. CT. 2003).  Both of these cases make it clear that officers who have an opportunity to intervene in an excessive use of force must do so. 

Officers of the Goshen Police Department have been trained on this topic, and have even done scenario training specific to this topic prior to this year. 

Establish a use of force continuum that restricts the most severe types of force

The Goshen Police Department already has a Response to Resistance Policy that dictates what force an officer may use.  This is Response to Resistance Policy 09 (2020).  The policy takes into account both Federal and State law, and case law.  The policy takes into account every level of force from officer presence, just us being there, to lethal force and everything in-between.  Lethal force is only justified if an officer has reasonable cause to believe that deadly force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony, or to affect the arrest of a person who the officer has probable cause to believe poses a threat of serious bodily injury to the officer or a third person. 

It is worth pointing out that every citizen of the State of Indiana has the right to use lethal force to defend themselves third party under the following circumstances.

IC 35-41-3-2, excerpt:

A person is justified in using reasonable force against any other person to protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person:

(1) is justified in using deadly force; and

(2) does not have a duty to retreat;

if the person reasonably believes that that force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person or the commission of a forcible felony. No person, employer, or estate of a person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary.

Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians

Officers of the Goshen Police Department already report each time they respond to resistance.  All uses of force are reported and reviewed for any issues, training or otherwise.  Report narratives, in addition to the response to resistance form and video, are used to review if needed.  Instructors review as needed, in addition to the review of the officer’s response to resistance, to determine if there are any training deficiencies or additional training needs that have to be addressed.  It is the goal of the Goshen Police Department to constantly be improving the level of training and knowledge all our officers have.