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Proposed revision to Law Enforcement standard 4.1.1 relating to reasonable force

At a recent meeting of the Standards Review and Interpretation Committee (SRIC) the committee directed staff to post for client comments the following proposed revised standard.  Please post your comments prior to Friday July 17th, 2020.

 

4.1.1 (MMMM) (LE1) Use of Reasonable Force

A written directive establishes states personnel will only use reasonable of force guidelines for all personnel, to include: accomplish lawful objectives

  1. only reasonable force necessary to achieve lawful objectives may be applied; and
  2. de-escalation strategies will be applied in an effort to reduce the need for application of force, when safe and feasible.

 

Commentary:

Agencies should take efforts to ensure the organizational culture values the preservation of life in the performance of all duties and responsibilities.  To that end, policies with regard to the use of force should be clear, concise, and easily applied.  Furthermore, associated training is should be conducted ranging from immediate action to de-escalation. De-escalation policy should be considered from a comprehensive perspective and include training for personnel providing call-intake through those interacting with points of contact in the field environment.  Call-takers should be trained on the importance of information gathering, as well as providing responding personnel with relevant information prior to arrival on scene, when available.  Consideration should be given to scenario-based training to ensure employee understanding regarding the practical application of de-escalation techniques.

Associated policy and training should also include a discussion the concept of proportionality, crisis recognition, effective communication, using distance and cover to create time, contact and cover responsibilities, tactical repositioning, and "slowing down" situations that do not pose an immediate threat.  Additionally, acknowledgement of circumstances involving persons in crisis should be denoted, as well as utilizing safety equipment.  Policies should address calling for back-up units and supervisory response to specific call types and events and the use of other available resources, etc specific to the agency.

Training should stress the importance of reasonableness in the application of force with significant consideration for the options allowing the accomplishment of the same objective in a manner most safe for personnel, the public, and the violator.

Consideration should be given to the agency’s position on the application of firearms with regard to shooting at or from moving vehicles.  Specific circumstances should be identified within policy where such action is permissible and prohibited. 

It is understood personnel not having sworn status may be prohibited from using force in situations other than self-defense.  Therefore, policy and training should recognize these differences.

05/03/19 The Standards Review and Interpretation Committee (SRIC) determined that the use of the word "objectively" in an agency's directive concerning "reasonable force" will not hinder the compliance with the standard, nor will the absence of the word. (M M M M) (LE1)

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