The city of Seattle has banned the use of “cowbells” by officers in a move that comes as some of its most vocal activists and residents are questioning the way officers use force and the impact on black communities.
The policy is the latest move in an increasingly polarized police-community relationship, with protesters demanding reform after two black men were killed by police last year.
A spokesman for Mayor Ed Murray said the department is “reviewing” the ordinance that was approved Thursday by Seattle City Council, which passed it without debate.
The ordinance was one of several passed this year that limit the use and use of nonlethal weapons.
The law will take effect in January, at which point Seattle will be the first major U.S. city to adopt a law that requires officers to use their stun guns and other nonlethal tools when using force, according to the city’s Office of the Police Commission.
The department will also be required to adopt an annual training plan on how officers are trained to use those tools and conduct training on the use-of-force policy.
The Seattle Police Department has a history of using force that critics say disproportionately impacts people of color.
In recent months, protests over police brutality have rocked the city, as protesters have demanded the city overhaul its use-force policies.
Murray has pushed back against protesters’ calls for police reform.
He has also sought to portray himself as a champion of law and order and said he has had conversations with his police chief about the new policy.
“We are looking into the use force policy and we are taking action as needed,” Murray said.
“There is no one-size-fits-all answer.
But as long as there are appropriate tools, that’s the way it’s going to be.”
The Seattle ordinance, which was approved by the council without a vote, is among the first in the nation to ban the use or threat of force against a person using force.
It comes amid mounting criticism over the deadly police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.
The city has been rocked by demonstrations and clashes since the death of Brown.
Protesters have said the officer who shot Brown was justified in shooting Brown and that he had a gun.
The protests have also led to an unprecedented wave of police shootings, including a deadly shooting by an officer of a Black man.
In Seattle, police use force against people who are not suspected of a crime and who pose no immediate threat, according the policy.
Officers can use any of the methods at their discretion, including deadly force.
Police are allowed to stun people, cuff them, handcuff them and detain them if they pose a threat to themselves or others.
But they must make an immediate decision to use force.
If they do not, they must call for medical assistance or use deadly force, the policy says.
The officers must report incidents of use of force to their supervisors and, if necessary, report the incident to the department’s internal affairs bureau, which investigates complaints of excessive use of police force.
The council also voted to establish a task force to investigate allegations of misconduct by officers.
Murray and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced Thursday that the city would also launch a review of the policies and training used by the police department.
The police commission also adopted a resolution Thursday calling on Murray to “immediately create a dedicated office to oversee the training of all officers on use of all weapons.”
It said the city is taking steps to make sure officers have “the appropriate training and training tools” to deal with use of deadly force and that the training should be reviewed by an independent civilian review board.
The new policy has the backing of the Seattle police union.
“It’s important for us to make a difference,” said Michael Lynch, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents about 20,000 officers.
“The people who have been killed by the use are our brothers and sisters.
We want to make it absolutely clear that if someone has a gun, we’re not going to let that gun pass by our home.”
A federal judge in July temporarily blocked enforcement of the law that prohibits the use the stun gun and other lethal tools, saying it was unconstitutional.
The court ruling came as the Justice Department announced it would review the law.
Murray’s office said he had been in contact with the federal department on the review.
“Our goal is to have the policy in place by January of next year,” Murray spokesman Eric Mar said.
Murray, a Democrat, has pushed for reforms in police training and practices, including the use only of lethal force against suspected criminals and people who pose a “continuing threat to life.”
The mayor also has pushed a police-controlling program to help train officers on the proper use of stun guns.
The mayor’s office also announced that Murray would be visiting several communities, including Washington, Oregon and Washington State, to address concerns over the use by officers of non-lethal weapons and training.
“I want to see an end to the use,