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Maine Deadly Force Review Panel releases findings

The state's Deadly Force Review Panel released findings and recommendations to Maine's law enforcement agencies this week.

MAINE, USA — Maine's Deadly Force Review Panel looked at 10 deadly force incidents over the last five years. 

It found all these deadly force incidents have a lot in common and that just about all of these incidents stem from mental health issues.

The panel made a list of recommendations for police to follow when the need arises to use deadly force. The list was broken down into four categories:

  1.  Protocols to follow when more than one department is involved in a situation.
  2. How reports are written after those incidents.
  3. Training new officers at Maine's Criminal Justice Academy
  4. Training current officers on how to deal with those with mental or substance use issues

Those on the review panel said that many of the people involved fall under the same category.

"A man living in isolation in rural Maine, typically with a chronic mental illness that is not being treated, usually with substance abuse issues at the same time," Francine Garland Stark, co-chair of the Deadly Force Review Panel, said.

Garland Stark added that a lot has to happen before police even get to a point where deadly force is necessary. Most calls police officers respond to don't reach that level.

"It's important for everyone to recognize that law enforcement is called to crisis every single day in this state, and nearly always it ends with no one being hurt," Garland Stark said.

The panel recommends law enforcement, especially departments without employees specializing in mental health, work with mental health experts in the community to learn how to de-escalate a situation before making a decision that may cost someone their life.

See the full report below: 

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