Police Department Frequent Asked Questions

Q: What is the presence and role of social services like social workers in Needham? How are they involved in domestic violence, mental health, and substance abuse situations? How do they interact with the police, how often do the police bring them into situations, etc.?

Q: What is the Town of Needham Youth Diversion Program?

Q: Does the Town have data about motor vehicle stops by race?

Q: Does the Town have arrest information by race?

Q: I understand the collective bargaining agreement says no disciplinary action will be taken against any officer on a civilian complaint unless the officer has been charged in writing.  What does “in writing” mean?

Q: I understand that letters of reprimand placed in a police department employee’s file are removed from the file after two years if there are no additional reprimands or violation of rules. If a police officer has caused bodily harm to a civilian or infringed on a civilian’s rights, shouldn’t that letter be kept on file?

Q: The Collective Bargaining Agreement says the Town shall indemnify and hold bargaining unit employees harmless from any liability arising from their actions within the scope of their employment. Can you clarify what this means?

Q: Will the Police department commit to all officers wearing cameras and having them on at all times when on duty?

Q: According to the NPD, Needham police officers undergo cultural diversity training and practice community policing including de-escalation techniques. When an officer joins the Needham police, under what time period must they undergo this training and how often are they re-trained? Will Needham officers undergo unconscious bias training? 

Q: The statement of NPD on the killing of George Floyd recognizes that there must be changes in the wake of this tragedy. What changes will the department be implementing? Does NPD ban the use of chokeholds and strangleholds? 

Q: Does the NPD require officers to issue verbal warning before discharging a firearm? 

Q: Does NPD require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against a civilian, whenever they point a firearm at someone and any other type of force? 

Q:   What are the goals of police patrol? Is it that visibility of police will deter crime, or other reasons? How is the success of police patrols measured? 

Q:  Are there quotas related to traffic stops or other interventions? 

Q: Policies: What are the NPD’s policies & procedures regarding items such as the permissibility of chokeholds, no-knock entry, etc.

Q:  For what infractions are police officers disciplined, and what is that discipline? Does it remain on their records? 

Q:  What are the policies and training related to reasons to pull over motorists or to question people? 

Q:  What are the criteria for using handcuffs?  Under what circumstances may they be used, and for what period of time?  

Q:  When someone is stopped/detained what are the policies for telling them the reason why?  

Q:  What are the weapons that police regularly carry? What other items does the department have such as crowd control items? 

Q:  What complaints, lawsuits, etc. have occurred in the past three years? 

Q:  What records does the Town keep around citizens who are questioned (not arrested, but stopped for a period of time unable to leave)?

Q:  How does the Town hire new officers?   What are the recruitment criteria and process?  

Q:  Why does the Department believe that it needs the current level of patrol staffing? Is there a report laying this out? 

Q:  What is the content of the Department’s training program?   What is optional vs required? What percent of officers have completed training?  How many hours does the training represent?  What are the continuing education/certification requirements for police officers? What about "warrior style" training?

Q:  What is the role of police officers in schools?

Q:  Under what circumstances are police called in for situations with students?  

Q:  How often does this happen?

Q:  What grade level does the SRO interact with?