Tennessee police chief tells officers they now must intervene when others are abusing their authority

Chief David Roddy speaks with reporters in 2017 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

(CNN)Police officers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, now have a duty to intervene when they see their colleagues acting unlawfully or inappropriately.

Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy announced the updated policy Monday in a statement. It comes amid weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis and calls to defund or abolish police departments.
"Each department member has the individual responsibility to intervene and stop any other member from committing an unlawful or improper act, including but not limited to, acts of brutality, abuses of process, abuses of authority, and any other criminal acts or major violations of department rules and procedures," the policy states. "Successful intervention does not negate a duty to report."
      Failure to intervene will result in disciplinary action, Roddy said.
        "I have updated and highlighted existing policy to reflect not only the current expectations of our police department, but what I also know is in the hearts and character of your officers," he said in a statement.
          "I look forward to the coming conversations and encourage the inclusion of many representatives to include community leaders, law enforcement, and some of those who've expressed their concerns in recent days."
          Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke applauded the move, saying the city's police department has already been implementing most of the reforms outlined in the #8CantWait campaign, a policing reform initiative by the advocacy group Campaign Zero.
          "We know that some of the worst incidents that have resulted in the loss of life occurred because police officers failed to police each other," Berke said Tuesday in a Facebook post. "Standing by while another officer does something dangerous or potentially lethal is immoral, inexcusable, and in the City of Chattanooga, totally unacceptable."
          In the Chattanooga Police Department's memo about the new duty to intervene policy, Roddy also highlighted the department's existing policy that requires officers to warn suspects before using deadly force.
            "An officer, after giving verbal notice to the suspect of his or her identity as a police officer, may use or threaten to use force that is reasonably necessary to accomplish the arrest of an individual suspected of a criminal act who resists or flees from the arrest; an officer may use deadly force to effect an arrest only if all other reasonable means of apprehension have been exhausted or are unavailable, and where feasible, the officer has given notice of such officer's identity as such and given a warning that deadly force may be used unless resistance or flight ceases," the policy states.
            That policy has been a part of the department's use of force policy for more than 20 years, the memo said.