Public Safety Updates on Accountability, Public Engagement, and Use of Force
Our goal with this page is to help actively build positive relationships with all members of our communities and to develop partnerships with all the stakeholders in the City of Berkley.
As a department, we continue to improve ourselves through de-escalation, diversity, decision making, interacting with people with special needs, and implicit bias training. This training, conducted through in-person, online, and scenario-based methods, is an ongoing process.
Our vision is that by working together with the members of our community, you will see our Public Safety Department as allies in the struggle for a better and safer community for all. That the partnerships established with community stakeholders will bring about more economically and socially stable neighborhoods.
Below you will find common topics and questions we receive about our Public Safety services:
Welfare Checks | Public Safety Training, Police Procedure, & Reporting
We've seen there has been confusion about the purpose of a welfare check and why police officers carry out this duty. Below we would like to share commonly asked questions about what welfare checks are, why we have them, and how we handle them in our community.
Please note: Welfare checks are NOT criminal investigations. They are a service provided by police and public safety departments to help those in need.
1. What are welfare checks?
A welfare check (also known as a wellness check) occurs when the police respond to a requested area to check on the safety or well-being of a person. Officers will then report back with their findings.
Most people think of the police as patrolling the streets looking for wrongdoers or responding to calls. What many people don’t realize is that the police in their community are also available to conduct welfare checks. This essential law enforcement function is an important tool for building safe communities.
2. Why do we do welfare checks?/What causes a welfare check?
Requests for welfare checks are made by friends, family, and neighbors, typically after someone unexpectedly stops answering their phone, getting in touch with others, or has not been seen in quite some time.
3. Why do police officers specifically conduct welfare checks?
Welfare checks are one of the many services police officers perform to keep their communities safe. Although we may usually think of officers patrolling the streets and responding to crime, welfare checks are another very important way that police officers keep us all safe.
4. What are the reasons for a welfare check?
The most common type of welfare check is checking on an elderly person. However, welfare checks can be utilized for a wide variety of reasons, including but not limited to, potential suicide, drug overdose, mental health, and child endangerment.
5. Can police enter your home for a welfare check?
Yes. The law states that if a police officer has "reasonable belief" that someone inside a residence needs aid, or that there is an imminent threat to the life or welfare of someone inside a residence, the police can make an entry without a warrant.
6. When to request a welfare check?
Welfare checks were once associated with the elderly, but have recently been a critical tool for the safety of many young people in the country. With the rise in suicide rates among adolescents and young adults, police are doing welfare checks more and more often for those who are at risk of taking their own lives. Common reasons to contact the police about a wellness check are:
- You normally see your neighbor, but it has been an extended period of time since you have. You call him or her and knock at the front door, but there is no answer.
- Your grandpa calls you at least once a week, but you haven’t heard from him. When you try to call him, he doesn’t answer either. He has a heart condition, so you begin to worry.
- You know of a suicidal friend who lives alone. She sent you a text message that causes concern, and you stopped hearing from her after that.
7. What happens after a police welfare check?
At the time of the call, most people don’t think about what’s to follow after the authorities check on the individual. If the police go to the location and find that the person is in good health – and it was likely a miscommunication why you were unable to get ahold of him or her – they will notify you to let you know.
However, if the police find the person injured, sick, or already deceased, a Public Safety Officer will provide medical assistance immediately and/or call for a medical transport, as well as contact you to come to the scene (they will stay at the home until you arrive).
Lastly, if the individual is found dead and there was any foul play involved, a criminal investigation will follow.
The most common reasons for a welfare check are on an elderly person who lives alone, or someone who has substance abuse or mental health issues.
Public Safety Training, Police Procedure, & Reporting Videos
We have created this video series to address certain topics surrounding our world today, as well as, a way to strive to be as open and transparent as we possibly can.
We always investigate all use of force by our officers. Each and every event is used to hold our officers accountable and is a method to improve our performance in the future. The use of excessive force is never appropriate and will not be tolerated.
Additionally, Public Safety participates in the voluntary National Use-of-Force Data Collection since the inception of the program. To participate in this program, we voluntarily submit monthly reports to the FBI reporting any incidents involving a fatality or serious injury connected to the use of force or a firearm shot at or in the direction of a subject during the use of force. In addition, we also have in-car cameras in all of our marked patrol vehicles and fire apparatus, and our policies and procedures are reviewed and updated as needed/necessary.
What is Public Safety?
Training and General Resources Regarding the Approach to Policing, Use of Force, De-Escalation, and Accountability.
Public Response, Perception, and Public Safety Incident/Complaint Procedures
Types of Training Berkley Public Safety Officers Receive.
Berkley Public Safety Reporting Requirements, Use of Force, and Body Cameras.
What De-escalation Techniques or Alternative Techniques Are Used Within Berkley Public Safety to Eliminate the Need for Use of Force? What Protocols Are in Place for Officers to Embolden Their Duty to Intervene Before Serious Harm Is Caused?
What Is Public Safety Doing in Regards to the Thin Blue Line Flag on the Public Safety Vehicles?
Public Engagement and How to Learn More about Berkley Public Safety.