The Use of Force Model

Use of force varies considerably, especially the wide gap between empty hand control (no weapons) and lethal/deadly force among different agencies and jurisdictions.

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The reasonableness of any use of force is determined by assessing the totality of the circumstances that led to the need to use force. Officers respond with a level of force appropriate to the resistance, acknowledging that the officer may move from one part of the model to another in a matter of seconds. An example of a use of force model follows this progression:

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  1. Presence u2013 Command Presence and Verbal Commands
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  3. Non-Threatening Resistance – Empty Hand Control, Escorts, etc.
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  5. Threatening Resistance – Non-Lethal Weapons, Strikes, etc.
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  7. Lethal Force/Deadly Force u2013 All Tools
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Excessive control results when the level of force is unreasonably greater than the subject’s level of resistance, potentially causing preventable injury. The force used should be no more than a reasonable officer would use under the total circumstances of the situation.

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Note: Most security companies have their own policy and procedures pertaining to use of force situations. There is no universally accepted standard set mandated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The information included in this module is considered a best practice. Always refer to your companyu2019s policies and procedures concerning escalating series of actions an officer can take.

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What level you actually enter into the use of force model is dictated by circumstances of the situation. When considering the totality of the circumstances you should be aware of the following:

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  • size and strength of the individual;
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  • if the person has access to weapons;
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  • does the person appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
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  • potential for injury to others, officers, or the location; and
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  • your environment.
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While making an arrest, all reasonable means are permitted to be used to effect it. No greater force, however, shall be resorted to than is necessary to secure the arrest.

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You should consider the totality of the circumstances when making an arrest. You should be actively attempting to calm the situation and lower the level of force necessary in order to complete an arrest. In response to an incident, a security officer enters the force model at the level appropriate to the resistance.

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Your safety, and the safety of others, must always be the number one priority. If there is a situation that will possibly lead to an arrest, immediately call your local law enforcement.