When Emily Hopkins requested death penalty procedures from the Utah Department of Corrections in 2015, they were met with a rejection, and after that a denied appeal. However, whether it was the result of a new public records officer or a change in UDC policy, a request filed this year led to the release of the Technical Manual used in carrying out executions, including procedures for the firing squad.
Yesterday, the Cambridge Police Department released its use of force policy. Previously, the department had said that publicly disclosing its policy would put officers at risk.
Earlier this week, a Boston Police Department officer and an FBI agent fatally shot a man. As both agencies have released their policies on use of deadly force, the public knows the standards that the officers were taught when it comes to pulling the trigger, and how both agencies will review the shooting of Usaama Rahim. But if the shooting had taken place across the Charles River in Cambridge, the public would not have the benefit of this basic information.
A casual email exchange between two police officials gives a rare look into the role that social media can play in modern policing. Barring restrictive privacy settings, there are few legal or practical limitations on monitoring an individual’s social media posts, or retaining such information for future investigations.