Response to Resistance/Aggression Policy
Establishes general guidelines for the use of deadly/non-deadly force and to establish reporting and investigative procedures of deadly/non-deadly force incidents. These procedures will be utilized when officers have to resort to physical force and/or use of a lethal or non-lethal weapon, in the performance of their duties.
It shall be the policy of the University of West Georgia Police Department that all members shall exhaust every other reasonable means of apprehension before resorting to the use of deadly/non-deadly force to defend themselves or other persons:
· from bodily harm
· to effect an arrest
· to take protective custody
· to prevent escape
· to overcome resistance
Officers will use only the force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives. Physical force/non-lethal weapons shall not be used as a means of deadly force, but only as a deterrent and/or alternative to a deadly force weapon. The type and degree of force/non-lethal weapons used will be reasonable and based upon the facts of each individual situation. In all situations involving the use of deadly/non-lethal force, foremost consideration shall be given to the safety of innocent citizens as well as officers.
Officers are often confronted with situations where force is necessary to execute their legal authority. Attempts will be made to achieve control through advice, verbal warnings and persuasion. In situations where resistance to an arrest, serious bodily injury, or threat to life is encountered, and reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or would clearly be ineffective, deadly/non-deadly force may be used.
DEADLY FORCE – That degree of force likely to cause death or great bodily harm. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 398 and GA Code 16-3-21)
NON-DEADLY FORCE – Necessary force not likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
REASONABLE BELIEF – What a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would believe based upon known facts surrounding the event as they existed at the time of the event. This is more than mere suspicion. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 1265 and GA Code 16-1-3(16)
SERIOUS BODILY INJURY – Serious physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death; causes serious, permanent disfigurement; or results in long-term lost or impairment of the functioning of any bodily member or organ. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 701)
FORCIBLE FELONY – Any felony involving the use or threat of physical force or violence, against any person. (GA Code 16-1-3 (6))
LETHAL WEAPONS – Any weapon that would customarily cause death or serious injury. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 398)
NON-LETHAL WEAPON – The ASP baton is the only authorized baton to be carried by officers. All non-lethal weapons not authorized by this General Order are prohibited and will not be carried by officers of UWG Police Department unless authorized in writing by The Chief of Police. Department issued OC Spray and/or an Air Taser may be carried by sworn personnel as approved by The Chief of Police. (Flashlights will be used for illumination purposes only. The only exception will be in a life or death situation.)
PHYSICAL FORCE – Force exceeds the mere touching or grabbing of an individual. “Force applied to the body; actual violence”. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 1147)
NON-INJURIOUS – The individual being taken into custody does not complain of an injury; nor is injury apparent.
INJURY – The individual being taken into custody complains of an injury and/or there is an apparent injury. “Physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.” (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 786)
NON-HOSPITALIZATION – The treatment of an individual by a paramedic or treated in a medical facility, i.e., emergency room.
HOSPITALIZATION – The admittance to a hospital for treatment due to injuries incurred by the officer’s action.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE USE OF NON-DEADLY FORCE
Officers are authorized to use non-deadly force in the performance of their duty and should only use that amount of force necessary to accomplish his/her lawful objectives. Examples of situations where non-deadly force is appropriate include:
· When necessary to preserve the peace, prevent commission of offenses or prevent suicide or self-inflicting injury.
· When preventing or interrupting a crime or attempted crime against property.
· When making lawful arrests and searches, overcoming resistance to such arrests and searches and preventing escape from custody.
· When self defense or defense of another against unlawful violence to his/her person.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE
Officers shall not draw a duty firearm except for a legal use or official inspection. This order applies to all contacts between officers and suspected criminals whether before, during or after the commission of a crime. The use of deadly force by an officer during the performance of duty is restricted to the following:
· “to apprehend a suspected felon only when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon or any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury; when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat of physical violence to the officer or others; or when there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm” (O.C.G.A. 17-4-20)
A member is justified to use deadly force under the following criteria:
· When all other means of defense have failed or would be inappropriate under the circumstances, officers may use deadly force, if they reasonably believe such force is necessary to defend themselves or another person from death or great bodily harm.
· When necessary to prevent or stop the commission of forcible felonies. Deadly force shall not be used towards persons who have committed or are committing traffic violations, misdemeanors, non-forcible felonies or forcible felonies not in progress.
· To arrest a person at the scene of a crime who is attempting to escape, but only if there is serious threat of immediate danger to the officer or third persons, such as the use of firearms or taking of hostages. Escapees from arrest or confinement are guilty only of a misdemeanor until convicted, irrespective of the nature of the original offense. Deadly force is prohibited in such instances.
· Upon the authorization of a superior officer and after a reasonable attempt to gain permission of the owner, an officer may use a firearm to destroy sick, fatally wounded, or vicious and uncontrollable animals, provided that the officer may act without the permission of a superior or the owner if circumstances require it. Special care should be taken to ensure no person or property is injured or damaged when an officer fires his/her weapon and no juveniles are present.
Warning shots are prohibited under any circumstances. An officer shall not fire into the air or ground in an attempt to halt a fleeing criminal.
Officers are not authorized to use deadly force to prevent the escape of unarmed and/or non-violent felons or other criminals, even though the escape might result in the crime going unpunished.
Discharging a firearm at a moving vehicle is prohibited, unless the occupants of the vehicle are using deadly force against the officer or another person and there is no alternative means of protecting life.
Under no circumstances will deadly force be used by an officer upon mere suspicion that a crime, no matter how serious, was committed, or that the person being pursued committed the crime.
CONTINUUM OF RESISTANCE AND FORCE
The following continuum of resistance and force is provided, in order to demonstrate examples and lend guidance in the use of both deadly and non-deadly force. Officers should bear in mind that conflicts with another person are volatile by their nature and at any time levels of resistance and/or force may change both upward and downward. These changes should be matched by equal reactions from the officer involved. All officers will receive annual training in the use of force and use of force continuum. This training will be noted in employee training and personnel files. These levels of resistance and control are models only. Each use of force incident must be justified on its own merit.
· Psychological: The suspect displays non-verbal cues that indicate an intention to flee or fight.
· Verbal Non-Compliance: The suspect indicates verbally an unwillingness to comply with the officer’s lawful authority. This may include verbal threats.
· Passive Resistance: Physical activity by the suspect that prevents the officer from carrying out his/her lawful duties, but does not pose immediate threat to the officer or others. An example would be that of a protestor who sits down.
· Defensive Resistance: The suspect attempts to physically prevent the officer from carrying out his/her lawful duty, but does not attempt to harm the officers or others. An example may be a suspect who resists arrest in a non-violent manner, such as pulling away from the officer, or attempting to run.
· Active Resistance: The suspect attempts to perform a physical act of assault on the officer’s person. Active resistance may or may not occur in an arrest situation.
· Aggravated Assistance: The suspect attempts to use deadly force against the officer’s person.
Officer response to an individual’s resistance can also be expressed as a continuum showing levels of control appropriate to the level of resistance encountered. Officers should only use the level of force necessary to overcome resistance. The following are examples of levels of control:
Level One: Officer’s presence and announcement of appropriate authority. Officers should always carry themselves in a manner displaying confidence and professionalism. A proper manner in itself may sometimes resolve a situation without the need for escalation.
Level Two: Verbal command and directions by the officer. Officer should make every effort to minimize the risk for misunderstanding during encounters with citizens. Verbal control may be in the form of advice, persuasion, admonitions or orders. When properly used, the volume and tone of the officer’s voice can be an effective tool for assuming control of a situation without the need to progress to a higher level of force. Profanity, disrespectful or argumentative conduct by the officer is never acceptable.
Level Three: Soft/Empty hand control (minimum probability of injury). The majority of arrests made by officers of the Department are handled peacefully and without incident. Occasionally, however, an individual may be encountered who will refuse to be placed into custody, and/or is uncooperative and other alternatives have proven ineffective. Incidents of this nature may require officers to use some combination of strength, leverage, joint locks, pressure points and come-along holds with sufficient force to make the lawful arrest without unnecessarily aggravating the situation. Control should be gained with the minimum risk of injury to the officer, the arrestee, and any innocent bystanders.
Level Four: Chemical Agents (Oleoresin Capsicum, etc.) Oleoresin Capsicum (OC Spray or Pepper Spray) delivered in a nonflammable liquid medium is the chemical agent used by qualified and authorized officers of this Department. OC Spray is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person with a minimum probability of producing injury to the person. The use of OC Spray shall be restricted to situations where higher levels of force are not necessary and lower levels of force would be ineffective or inappropriate.
The Air Taser is an acceptable tool to be used. The Air Taser is a conducted energy weapon that uses propelled wires to conduct energy to a remote target, thereby controlling and overriding the central nervous system of the body. The Air Taser should not be used on persons who have been exposed to flammable liquids, sprayed with an O.C. agent containing an alcohol propellant, expectant mothers, and elderly persons unless all other means of short of lethal force have been considered. The Air Taser is not recommended to be used on animals due to unpredictable results.
The Pepperball SA200 is also a viable option. The Pepperball projectiles are plastic spheres that are filled with powdered or liquid 5% Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). The projectiles, when delivered by an air-powered launching device, burst on impact and release OC. Pepperball projectiles subdue suspects by strongly irritating their nose, lungs, and affect their breathing. (When inhaled the agent leads to coughing, shortness of breath, and in some instances vomiting.) Some individuals will experience eye irritation. In most cases the symptoms last for a few minutes (5-10 minutes). The Pepperball system can deliver the projectile with enough kinetic energy to produce temporary abrasions, bruises, and/or welts.
Although classified as a less-lethal device, the potential exists for Pepperball projectiles to inflict injury when they strike the face, eyes, neck, groin, and spine. Intentional targeting of these should be avoided due to the possibility of serious bodily injury, unless the use of deadly force is authorized. All other parts of the body are authorized as target areas.
Level Five: Hard/Empty hand striking techniques. This level of force involves the use of an officer’s personal weapons (hands, fists, elbows, knees, feet, etc.) in controlling an adversary. Officers may use these striking techniques to defend himself/herself or others against unlawful assaults where the use of other levels of force are not justified or are impractical. These techniques have a higher probability of injury to the person being placed into custody.
Level Six: Intermediate Weapons. This level of force involves the use of department authorized intermediate weapons for controlling an adversary, including, but not limited to, wrist drags, joint locks and come-alongs. Intermediate weapon control techniques could necessitate the use of striking techniques. Both soft and hard intermediate weapon control techniques may be used by officers to defend his/herself or others against unlawful assaults where the use of other levels of force are not justified, or are impractical, or inappropriate. This level contains a higher probability of injury to the person being placed into custody.
All officers carrying intermediate weapons must have received training in the use of the equipment pursuant to departmental training standards and must be qualified and/or have proper certification for the equipment carried. The Chief of Police shall be the sole authority for equipment covered in this order and shall authorize all equipment carried by any member of the Department.
NOTE: The StreamLight or Mag-Light flashlights issued by the Department are issued for the purpose of illumination and not as an intermediate weapon. Training is not provided by the Department in the use of flashlights as an intermediate weapon, and therefore prohibits its use for that purpose.
This policy will not preclude officers from using any available resource when defending him/herself or another form of physical assault likely to cause great bodily harm or death.
Level Seven: Deadly/Lethal Force. Deadly force is defined by Georgia State law as, “that force which creates some specified degree of risk that a reasonable and prudent person would consider likely to cause death or great bodily harm.”
According to Georgia State law, O.C.G.A. 16-3-21, lethal force may be used if: “There is sufficient reason to believe that the person against whom the force is used is about to kill or grievously injure the officer or another person, or there is sufficient reason to believe that the force must be used to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
O.C.G.A. 17-4-20 addresses the use of deadly force for arrest in that. “ . . . peace officers . . . may use deadly force to apprehend a suspected felon only when (1) the officer reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon or any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury; (2) when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat of physical violence to officer or others; (3) or (see note below) when there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm. Nothing in this Code section shall be construed so as to restrict such . . . peace officers from the use of such reasonable deadly force as may be necessary to apprehend and arrest a suspected felon or misdemeanor.” To “reasonably believe” is most commonly decided on the basis of the “reasonable man doctrine”, a basic standard of our legal system. In common terms it means that if any person of common judgement and ordinary prudence, experiencing the same facts and circumstances experienced by the officer, would come to the same general conclusion the officer reached, then it is reasonable belief.
NOTE: To provide clear guidelines in this issue (item (3) above), it should be asserted that the officer “reasonably believes” the suspect’s escape would create a continuing danger of serious physical harm to another person.
O.C.G.A. 17-04-20(c) addresses the use of deadly force to prevent escape by stating, “. . . nothing in this Code section shall be construed so as to restrict the use of deadly force by employees of state and county correctional institutions, jails and other places of confinement or by peace officers of any agency in the State of Georgia when reasonably necessary to prevent escapes or apprehend escapees from such institutions.”
O.C.G.A. 17-04-20(d) addresses the use of deadly force to apprehend a suspected felon by stating, “No law enforcement agency . . . shall adopt or promulgate any rule, regulation or policy which prohibits a peace officer from using that degree of force to apprehend a suspected felon which is allowed by the statutory and case law of this state.”
No distinction shall be made relative to the age of the intended subject of the deadly force. Regardless of the nature of the crime or the legal justification for the use of deadly force or potential deadly force, officers are reminded their primary responsibility is to protect the public. Members are instructed to be particularly cautious when using deadly or potentially deadly force under conditions that would possibly subject innocent bystanders to substantial danger.
When the use of firearms is justified, the policy of the University of West Georgia Police Department is that sworn personnel should fire for the “center of mass” whenever possible and appropriate. This policy is for the purpose of maximizing the probability the fired projectile will incapacitate the subject and cause him/her to immediately cease his/her activities. In the extreme stress and urgency of a shooting situation, any attempt to “wound” a subject might produce unfavorable circumstances for the officer and/or innocent bystanders.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENT
Use of Force
When force is used as a control measure whether deadly or non-deadly, and an injury or complaint of injury occurs, the officer at the scene will immediately call for emergency medical services.
Should the injury appear to be life threatening in nature, and while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical services personnel, the officer(s) present shall initiate any and all life saving techniques for which they have received training. Officers shall arrange for the transport of any person to the nearest medical facility (Tanner Medical Center) when:
· The person has suffered serious injuries, or when symptoms of serious injury becomes apparent
· After evaluation by qualified emergency service personnel at the scene, there exists a reasonable risk of internal injuries that may not be manifesting visibly
Once at the medical facility, the person will be examined, treated, admitted to the facility, or released to the custody of the officer with a written medical release from the attending physician. This is required before admission to the Carroll County Detention Facility
If the person refuses treatment at the medical facility, the officer shall request the refusal be noted in the physician’s records and a written medical release obtained for the department’s records. The officer’s Use of Force Report shall reflect the medical attention received, or the refusal thereof, along with the name of the attending physician
Oleoresin Capsicum (OC Spray)
In the event OC Spray is used, officers must be aware of the effect of, and treatment for individuals that have been sprayed and/or exposed.
Decontamination Procedures: After control has been established and/or resistance ceased the officer will make reasonable efforts to ease the affects on the suspect of OC spray associated with its’ application.
After the suspect has been brought under control, restraints applied, and the suspect no longer presents a threat to the officer or others, the officer will then render appropriate first aid to the suspect; which consists of:
· Talk in a calming fashion
· Expose to fresh air
· Flush the face and eyes with fresh clean water
· When practical remove contaminated clothing and bag it to keep powdered OC from becoming airborne
· Arrange for professional medical attention (EMS) if a specific need or potential concern arises. NOTE: The EMS personnel should determine if the suspect requires to be transported to the hospital or other medical facility for further medical evaluation.
· If reasonable, the person will be transported immediately to the county jail. If it is not reasonable to transport the person to a holding facility, the person should be moved to an area with fresh air.
· Keep the person calm by explaining the anticipated effects and monitor the suspect while in custody.
· Open doors and windows as soon as practical after usage inside a building or vehicle to decontaminate the area(s).
· Notify jail personnel that the subject was exposed to OC Spray.
Assistance will be offered to any individuals accidentally exposed to OC Spray who feel the effects of the agent. All such exposures shall be documented in the officer’s Use of Force report and will be brought to the attention of the officers’ immediate supervisor and The Chief of Police as soon as possible.
Areas where OC spray or powder was utilized will be secured until any contamination can be removed. Maintenance will be contacted if needed and will be informed as to the agent involved and safety precautions for cleaning the area.
The Air Taser propels two #8 straight fishing hooks. The hooks can be removed from clothing by any officer. Hooks that penetrate the skin should be removed by medical personnel, and the hooks should be treated as contaminated needles. Carefully place probes sharp-tip first into the cartridge bores, secure in place and place in needle container. Retain for evidence. Pictures should be taken of puncture wounds.
REPORTS OF THE USE OF FORCE
Any incident involving the use of force, discharge of firearm, use of ASP batons, chemical agents, Air Taser, Pepperball, or hand-to-hand combat techniques, will be assigned a case report number. Any other Police Department personnel who are involved will write a supplemental report to the original case report number. The complete Use of Force/Firearms Report will be forwarded to the Division Commander after the supervisors’ investigation. The supervisory investigation should be completed within 48 hours of the incident.
Use of Force Reports will be reviewed annually and the Division Commander will complete a report. The report encompassing all Use of Force Reports will be completed by February of the following year and forwarded to the Chief of Police. The purpose of this review is to reveal possible patterns or trends that could indicate training needs and/or policy modification.
Reporting the Use of Non-Deadly/Physical Force/Non-Lethal Weapons
· Non-injurious – Police officers who use physical force or a non-lethal weapon shall note the circumstances in the offense report.
· The officer’s supervisor shall be notified as soon as possible.
· The supervisor shall notify CID as soon as possible.
· Police officers who use physical force or a non-lethal weapon shall note the circumstances in the offense report/Use of Force/Firearms Report.
· A copy of the officer’s report shall be given to their supervisor who shall forward it to CID, within 48 hours, via the officer’s chain-of-command.
Injury Involved – Hospitalization Required
· The officer’s supervisor shall be notified as soon as possible.
· The supervisor shall notify, through the Chain of Command, The Chief of Police, as soon as possible.
· Police officers who use physical force or a non-lethal weapon shall note the circumstances in the officer’s report and on the Use of Force/Firearms Report.
· A copy of the officer’s report shall be given to their supervisor who shall forward it to CID within 48 hours via the officer’s chain-of-command.
Non-lethal Weapons Discharge
· Every officer discharging a firearm, resulting in non-lethal injuries and for other than training or recreational purposes, shall notify their supervisor and submit a written report to The Chief of Police, through the chain-of-command, within twenty-four (24) hours.
OFF-DUTY DISCHARGE OF FIREARM, EXCLUDING RECREATIONAL USE
When an officer uses a department issued firearm off-duty and within the jurisdiction of the UWG Police Department, CID will conduct the investigation with a full report to The Chief of Police, regardless of whether or not anyone was injured.
When an officer uses a department issued firearm off-duty and out of the jurisdiction of UWG Police Department, the initial investigation will be conducted by the law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the use of firearms occurred. The officer will at first opportunity notify the on-duty supervisor who will obtain as much information as possible and then notify The Chief of Police who, at his discretion may enlist CID to conduct an investigation, regardless whether or not anyone was injured.
Any accidental discharge of a firearm that injures or causes the death of any person, the officer to whom the weapon is issued, shall immediately notify the on-duty supervisor, who will obtain the necessary information and then notify The Chief of Police through the Chain of Command.
This procedure will be followed whether or not the accidental discharge of the firearm was caused by the officer or by unauthorized use (i.e., children, relatives, friends, etc.)
OFF-DUTY STORAGE OF DEPARTMENT ISSUED FIREARM
Officers are required to store their department issued firearm(s) in a manner that access to it by all unauthorized persons is restricted. While the weapon is stored at home the weapon should be stored in a manner in which small children and other unauthorized persons do not have access to it. To assist in this purpose the department has issued each officer a home security safe to safely store the weapon in. At any time the weapon is not being worn by the officer at home the weapon should be properly stored and secured in the home security safe. Due to the severity of injury that can be inflicted by the duty weapon when handled by unauthorized persons failure to comply with this directive may result in termination of employment with this department.
The home security safe can be permanently secured at your home, but it is not required. The safe should be stored and used in an upright position for the locking mechanism to work. Officers will be allowed to pick a security code for their safe. A master key to each safe will be kept in dispatch in the event the combination is forgotten or the electronic safe malfunctions. The dispatcher will make an entry into PAMET anytime an officer enters the safe and a key is removed. The entry will remain open until the key is returned. The safe will be returned to the department at the end of an officer’s employment.
REPORT AND INVESTIGATION OF USE OF DEADLY FORCE
Responsibilities and Duties
Officers on the scene:
· Call an ambulance via the Communications Center;
· Call the Superior on duty;
· Secure the scene;
· Identify, detain and separate all witnesses.
Superior on Duty
· Maintain security of the scene
· Have the involved officer(s) separated and transported to the Watch Supervisor’s office and keep them separated
· Notify the CID Lieutenant and the Patrol Lieutenant
· Notify the Assistant Director
· Notify the Chief through the Chain of Command
· Notify the Georgia Bureau of Investigations via the Communications Center
· In case of a fatality: Notify the Carroll County Coroner via the Communications Center, upon authorization from the Supervisor
The Chief of Police, with the assistance of CID, shall determine if the use of force was justified. They will review and discuss the evidence 50060leading up to the use of force. The Chief will notify the officer of the final decisions.
This procedure is independent of any criminal prosecution, which may be initiated by the District Attorney’s Office, if a violation of the law is involved.
TREATMENT OF THE OFFICER
All officers involved in the use of deadly force or force that results in a serious injury will be assigned to paid administrative leave, pending administrative review, and required to speak with qualified psychological services personnel at the earliest possible time. During this period, the officer will refrain from acting in their capacity as a law enforcement officer. The decision to return to normal duty will depend upon the results of the investigation and the report of the psychologist.
Justification for the use of deadly force must be limited to what the officer reasonably believed to be the facts known or perceived by the officer at the time he/she decides to use such force.
Officers are admonished that this General Order sets forth the law of the State of Georgia and the most recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court with regard to the use of deadly force and comprises the legal justification for the use of such force.
Until such time as The Chief of Police can prepare and release an official news release concerning the incident, department personnel will not speak to the news media.