NORFOLK, NE– Before we got started, deputy Joe Greenough took me through a mini class to discuss the legal elements of using force that officers are required to understand.
After that, we took to the mat to practice techniques on our willing victim, Scott Hoffman (thanks!).
Officers are granted authority to use force to control violent or dangerous situation. Understanding the legal justifications for use of force is imperative for officers. Officers must quickly select appropriate response under stress.
“In a split second you have to make a decision that would require months for a lawyer.”
Officers follow a certain policy when approaching a lower level of resistance. Their goal is to calm things down and de-escalate the situation before resorting to violence.
The majority of law enforcement uses of force don’t reach the level of deadly force, but rather lower levels of resistance. For this officers must be trained in other techniques. These lower level uses of are used to gain control of resistive or combative subjects. Officers are trained in handcuffing, joint manipulation, and pain compliance.
“This what you should have done, basically in a stressful situation you have to use the limited info coming in and make the best decision you can based on the little information you have, making perfect decision is not always a possibility. You have to do what you perceive as the best action at that time.”
New officer that are going through training are shown how to apply techniques in different scenarios.
Recently over the years, different departments over the country have experienced increase scrutiny over the use of force.
“You’re judged in hindsight. Another officer with similar training, similar years of experience could do the same thing you did in a similar situation and that’s how officers are judged in legal residence or case law.”
Defense tactics are another tool on their tool box, a technique that officer don’t forget to bring with them. In a threatening scenario, these defense tactics can give officers an extra moment to plan a better response and regain control.