Recently we have seen incidents of complaints against the police for improper use of force and negligence in death investigations. These cases are instigating public demonstrations and investigations into officer behavior and departmental policies.

Aside from making the national news, use of force should be examined in each case when someone has been arrested and may or may not have been charged with an assault on an officer. Many departments have implemented and utilize a Use of Force policy. It is also required by many certifying and accrediting agencies such as CALEA.

When there is a Use of Force Policy and there has been a reported use of force (by either the office or the arrested party) there should be a Use of Force Incident Form completed by all officers utilizing a measure of force based on the policy. The Incident itself and the policy should be examined.It is helpful to review this policy to see if the Officer acted within the scope of the policy and that it was documented. 

Too, the entirety of the Use of Force forms should be reviewed to see if there is a pattern based on type of incident, type of arrested party, type of force used and any disparity or prevalence of Officers using force and/or non-reporting force.

In Law Enforcement, the Officer should have initial Use of Force training in the academy, demonstrate proficiency, and then re-certify to show continued proficiency. An example of the Use of Force Continuum is shown above. The Continuum demonstrates how escalating levels of force can be applied based on the level of threat demonstrated.

If you have a case where force was used and you would like us to review it, please contact us so that we may gather information about your case.