SMPD Policy - 200 Operations
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Procedures designed to enable an officer to control a subject’s movements to apply a handcuffing technique, to prevent escape, to prevent an attempt to cause injury, or to accomplish other lawful objectives, with minimal risk of injury to the subject. A control technique may be performed using empty hands or a control device.
Force that is intended or known by the actor to cause, or in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing, death or serious bodily injury.
Includes physical actions/assaults against the officer or another person with less than deadly force (e.g., advancing, challenging, punching, kicking, grabbing, wrestling, etc.)
Deadly Force Assault
Any force used against an officer and/or another person that may result in serious bodily harm or the loss of human life. A deadly force assault does not require the use of a weapon against the officer. Deadly force assault is any force which the officer reasonably believes could result in serious bodily injury or death.
A physical act designed to prevent the officer from gaining control, but does not include assault on the officer. Examples include but are not limited to pulling/pushing away, fleeing or grasping an object (such as a pole or steering wheel) to prevent detention or arrest.
The need for the immediate protection of life, when circumstances do not allow for any other option(s).
The exercise of active power, strength or energy that is necessary to overcome an actor’s resistance, also referred to as resistance control.
Hard Empty Hand Control-
Techniques that are designed to control Active Aggression, but can be used to control Defensive Resistance when lower forms of control have failed or when the officer “believes” lower forms of control will fail. Examples include front thrust kick, knee strike, angle kick, palm heel strike, punch, backhand strike, forearm strike, back of forearm strike, bicep strike, brachial stuns, iron wrist lock takedown, straight arm bar takedown.
Impact Weapon –
Any object, regardless of its original manufactured purpose, which can be utilized to strike a person with sufficient force so as to cause bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death.
A tool/weapon that is not part of the human body and is not designed to be lethal but its use causes temporary, intense pain and/or irritation when deployed against a subject or, as in the case of a police canine, is adapted for specialized use as in tracking, detection and apprehension of a subject.
Mechanical Control –
The use of mechanical devices to gain or maintain control of a subject, such as handcuffs, the hobble restraint and the wrap restraint.
The identification of a police officer’s authority, either by the uniformed presence or the verbal identification of being a police officer. In either case, an officer’s identification of authority brings with it the assumption the public must obey a lawful order.
One Plus One Theory-
a conservative use of force theory based upon the concept of responding to resistance with proportional use of force. This theory advocates that officers can use one level of force higher than the level of resistance used by the subject. There is an emphasis on the use of empty hand control for lower levels of resistance.
Passive Resistance –
Resistance where the subject does not attempt to defeat the officer’s attempt to touch or control him/her, but he/she still will not voluntarily comply with verbal and physical attempts of control.
Nonverbal clues indicting subject’s attitude, appearance, and physical readiness. The subject may comply with verbal attempts at control, but displays visual nonverbal cues that indicate potential physical resistance.
Reasonable Belief –
When facts or circumstances the officer knows or should know are such as to cause an ordinary and prudent person to act or think in a similar way under similar circumstances.
Resistance Control Continuum-
- A general guide for using force in confrontational or arrest circumstances based upon the One-Plus-One Theory.
- Levels of Resistance:
- 1. psychological intimidation
- 2. verbal noncompliance
- 3. passive resistance
- 4. defensive resistance
- 5. active aggression
- 6. deadly force assaults
- and Levels of Control:
- 1. officer presence
- 2. verbal commands
- 3. soft empty hand control
- 4. hard empty hand control
- 5. intermediate weapons
- 6. deadly force
Serious Bodily Injury –
A physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement or impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb.
Soft Empty Hand Control-
Techniques designed to control Passive or Defensive Resistance. Used when verbal direction/commands are not effective and there is noncompliance with lawful orders or directions. These techniques may inflict pain, but generally will not cause any form of bruising or injury to the subject and have a minimum probability of injury to the subject. These techniques include strength techniques, putting hands on the person such as in an escort position, joint locks, transport wristlock takedown, application of pressure point techniques, knee strikes when used as a distraction or application of mechanical control.
Commands, requests or other instructions given verbally by the officer to control, direct, inform or otherwise guide a subject
Any verbal response indicating subject’s unwillingness to obey commands of detainment, arrest or to stop unlawful or dangerous behavior.
Wrap Restraint –
A temporary restraining device that is attached to a subject’s lower torso to prevent damage to property and/or injury to himself, to officers, and/or to others. A shoulder harness is additionally used with this device.
IV. USE OF FORCE GENERALLY
A. In any individual event, the use of force is restricted to that force necessary to control and terminate unlawful resistance, to effect a lawful arrest, to prevent injury to any person or to prevent the escape of a person in custody.
B. The purpose of force is to control resistance and aggression and gain compliance with lawful objectives. The Resistance Control Continuum ranges from officer presence to deadly force, and is escalated or de-escalated as the subject’s action changes.
C. Officers may use the levels of force prescribed within this policy to overcome either resistance or an increasingly dangerous threat to public safety.
D. In response to resistance, officers will proceed within the Resistance Control Continuum guidelines
Resistance Control Continuum guidelines:
- 1. Officer Presence
- a. Is utilized each time an officer arrives on a scene.
- 2. Verbal Commands
- a. Officers will use verbal direction whenever possible; keeping in mind that fair, cool headed officer behavior can significantly reduce danger and de-escalate a situation. This does not mean that an officer should not take control and assert authority. Verbal commands should be continued if possible during escalation and de-escalation of resistance control.
- 3. Soft Empty Hand Control
- a. May be utilized to control levels of resistance from verbal noncompliance upwards and should be used in conjunction with verbal commands or directions whenever possible
- b. Mechanical Control is categorized under soft empty hand control.
- 4. Hard Empty Hand Control
- a. An increase in the level of resistance by the person, punching or increased struggle, may cause the arresting officer to escalate on the resistance control continuum. The officer may use hard empty hand control techniques to control active aggression or higher but hard empty hand control can also be used to control Defensive Resistance when lower forms of control have failed or when the officer “believes” lower forms of control will fail.
- b. Any strikes, punches or kicks will be directed towards areas which are not likely to cause great bodily harm (i.e., motor points, muscle groups, torso, etc.).
- 5. Intermediate Weapons
- a.The use of an intermediate weapon is justified when lower forms of empty hand control have failed or when the officer believes that his/her skills in empty hand control will be insufficient to control the person, and the use of deadly force is not yet justified. Intermediate weapons will be used with the intent to temporarily disable a subject and never with the intent to cause permanent injury.
- b. Only intermediate weapons that are approved by the Department will be utilized by Departmental personnel. c. Department personnel will carry and use only those intermediate weapons on which they have been trained. This does not prevent an officer from using a weapon of opportunity if the situation dictates usage for prevention of bodily injury to the officer or another.
- d. When the officer is forced to strike a person with an impact weapon, the officer should attempt to target nerve motor points first, joints and bony areas second. The strikes should be directed toward approved striking points. Any blows to the head, neck, throat, clavicle, groin or spine will be avoided unless the officer is authorized in utilizing deadly force.
6. Deadly Force
– When the officer must discharge his firearm at a person, apply a chokehold or carotid restraint and/or strike him with an instrument in a manner that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989)
set forth guidelines for determining whether force has been excessively applied: the primary concern being reasonableness in its application, as judged by the on-scene officer.
E. Any use of force greater than that reasonable to gain lawful compliance will be deemed excessive.
- 2. In evaluating the reasonable application of force, officers must first consider their own age, size, strength, skill level with Department approved weapons, state of health and the number of officers as opposed to the number of actors, their age, size, apparent strength and apparent skill level. Based on the reasonableness standard, the following considerations contribute to a determination of excessive force:
- a. The severity of the crime;
- b. The nature and extent of the threat posed by the suspect;
- c. The degree to which the suspect resists arrest or detention; and
- d. Any attempts by the suspect to evade arrest by flight.
F. Personnel will use only those control techniques that the Department has approved
G. Medical aid, as appropriate and necessary, will be rendered as soon as possible after any use of force.
A. Police officers are authorized to use deadly force:
- 1. When the police officer has a reasonable belief that the use of deadly force is necessary to protect the police officer or others from an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm; or,
- 2. To prevent the escape of a person whom the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily harm upon another and the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent escape.
VI. DEADLY FORCE (cont'd)
B. Whenever reasonably possible, an officer will give a verbal warning prior to the use of deadly force.
C. Officers are not required first to use or attempt to use less-lethal force when the situation warrants the use of deadly force.
- D. An officer is permitted to fire a firearm in circumstances where the use of deadly force is authorized.
- 1. Warning shots are strictly prohibited.
- 2. Officers will not fire at a moving motor vehicle unless the continued operation of the motor vehicle presents an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to any person. Officers will not voluntarily or recklessly place themselves in a position in front of an oncoming vehicle where the need for deadly force is a likely outcome.
VI. DEADLY FORCE (cont'd)
E. Officers will not fire when it appears likely that an innocent person may be injured.
F. An officer may fire a firearm to kill any animal which presents an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to any person, or which is obviously suffering from a serious injury or illness, after first attempting, when feasible, to locate and receive permission from the animal’s owner.
VII. LESS-LETHAL FORCE
- A. Only officers trained in the use and deployment of less-lethal weapons are permitted to deploy these weapons, in accordance with their training.
- 1. The expandable baton, chemical spray (oleoresin capsicum), electric immobilizing devices (e.g. TASER®), and beanbag type shotguns are the less-lethal weapons authorized for general use.
- 2. Other specialized less-lethal weapons or less-lethal munitions may be authorized for use by specially trained officers or tactical teams.
B. Before employing less-lethal weapons, the officer will advise assisting officers that a less-lethal weapon is being deployed. This is to prevent an assisting officer from believing deadly force is being used.
C. Only those techniques of less-lethal force approved for instruction in Department in-service training are permitted.
VIII. Use of Force Documentation
A. Anytime a subject suffers an injury, or complains of pain or injury, from an officer’s use of force the officer, if possible, is to ensure that the injuries are photographed and documented in the incident report.
- B. A Use of Force Report is required in the following situations:
- 1. During the application of force, when a firearm is discharged or when a firearm is displayed to a person to gain compliance;
- 2. When a use of force technique results in, or is alleged to have resulted in, death or injury to any person;
- 3. When a less-lethal weapon is used against a person or is displayed to a person to gain compliance;
- 4. When a Department canine causes injury or death to any person, or is alleged to have caused injury or death;
- 5. When use of force is required beyond the application of handcuffs; or
- 6. When a hobble restraint or wrap restraint is applied.
VIII. Use of Force Documentation
C. The involved employee will complete the Use of Force Report before the end of the shift and will forward the report via the chain of command to the Administration Division Assistant Chief. Each level in the chain of command is responsible for reviewing the Use of Force Report to ensure that the level of force used was acceptable and permissible.
- D. A supervisor is to respond to the scene of a use of force in the following situations:
- 1. Whenever a firearm is discharged other than on the firing range;
- 2. When the use of force by an officer results in death or serious bodily injury to any person; or
- 3. When a person complains that an officer has inflicted an injury that requires medical attention.
- 4. A supervisor need not report to the scene when the discharge of the firearm was for the permissible disposition of a wild, dangerous or diseased animal and there are no other injuries or property damage.
- 5. When a hobble restraint or wrap restraint is applied.
VIII. Use of Force Documentation (cont'd)
E. When the use of force results in serious bodily injury, the involved officer’s supervisor must ensure that immediate notification is made to the appropriate supervising Commander via the chain of command. The Commander will notify the Division Assistant Chief and Chief of Police as soon as practical.
F. When the use of force results in death, the involved officer’s supervisor must ensure that immediate notification is made to the appropriate Division Commander via the chain of command. The Commander will notify the Division Assistant Chief and the Chief of Police immediately.
G. By January 31 of each year, the Administration Assistant Chief will provide the Chief of Police a summary report of the previous year’s Use of Force Reports.
IX. Removal from Assignment
- A. Any employee whose action or use of force results in serious bodily injury or death will be removed from enforcement duties and may be placed on administrative leave with pay pending:
- 1. Completion of Department review of the incident;
- 2. Determination by a Department designated psychologist that the employee is ready to return to duty; and,
- 3. Release to duty by the Chief of Police.
X. Requirement to report excessive Use of Force
- A. Any employee who observes any employee use excessive force against any person will notify a supervisor immediately, and will submit a memorandum within twenty-four hours. The memorandum will include:
- 1. Date, time and location of the incident.
- 2. Description of the incident, the force used, and the circumstances and conduct which constituted excessive force.
B. The memorandum will be made separately, and not as part of any arrest or incident report relating to an incident.
C. The memorandum is to be submitted to the Chief of Police, via chain of command, the next business day, unless the alleged use of force resulted in death or serious bodily injury to any person, in which case, the Chief of Police will be notified immediately.
D. Department investigation and review of incidents involving an alleged use of excessive use of force will be conducted pursuant to the policies and procedures in General Order 107. Command Staff will review incidents that result in death or serious bodily injury to any person.
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