Over the last several years the department has updated policies, increased training and improved the officer recruitment process in an effort to continue to build trust within the community. The site provides a demographic breakdown of diversity within the department and across Augusta University, policies regarding use of force, recruitment and hiring, and detailed information on the various types of training officers receive.
“Training is an important part of preparing our department members to be the guardians of our community. The training is grounded in best law enforcement practices and sound policies,” said Augusta University Police Chief James Lyon. “High risk, low frequency policies are selected on a monthly basis and those policies are trained on every single day by AUPD members.”
As part of this training, officers learn to gather all information about a situation and assess risks in order to coordinate a response that de-escalates a situation. AUPD members annually meet or exceed the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council POST Rule 464-5, which requires all peace officers in the state of Georgia to attend a minimum of two hours of community policing training, one hour of de-escalation training and one hour of use-of-force training. In addition, department members undergo other important training, such as implicit bias training. This training teaches officers to recognize their own biases and how it affects behavior toward others.
Visitors to the site will find PDF copies of policies on use of force, the process in which the Augusta University Police Department will conduct reviews of use of force incidents, use of the TASER, vehicular pursuits and portable recording devices. All AUPD policies are available by emailing the department.
The site also provides information on how to commend an officer and how to report a complaint against a member of the AUPD. It also explains exactly how a complaint will be investigated. Consistent with its community policing philosophy, the AUPD also offers several community engagement initiatives to educate and provide safety resources to the community. Learn more about the Rape Aggression Defense System, take a community firearms course or have “Coffee with a Cop” to get to know members of the department better.
“There is a national conversation on policing and policing reform. We know our community members may have questions about AUPD’s practices and policies. We think it’s important for our community to know our policies, procedures and how we train our department members,” Lyon said.
“We are proud of the steps we’ve taken in the last four years to be a more community-oriented department that takes seriously the role of guardian of each and every member of our community. While not perfect, AUPD’s policies, procedures and training are already consistent with many of the reforms that are being asked of law enforcement agencies across the country.”