Whenever the police department or sheriff’s offices uses force, whether it be detaining a person or controlling a situation with an animal involved, what is and isn’t protocol comes into question. I attended a course with the Victoria Civilian Police Academy on Tuesday and walked a way with a clear understanding of the continuum use of force.
The academy began its annual training courses Feb. 4. During the course of several weeks, the civilian cadets learn the ins and outs of being a police officer, such as handcuffing and body searches, hostage negotiation and how to use a firearm.
Tuesday's class ended with a live taser demonstration and students then participated in an animated deadly force scenario where they used gun replicas packed with paint cartridges as bullets – it was pretty awesome.
What I learned in the class was that officers abide by what is called a continuum use of force. The force begins with what is called officer presence. Whether it is an officer in uniform or a police car parked outside of a business, the idea is that simply the officer’s presence is the first step to prevent crime
The steps then go up to a verbal command, such as “stop,” “get on the ground” or “put your hands behind your back.” At this point, if the other person is unresponsive to an officer's command, the officer will then use tactics, such as pepper spray or a taser gun.
Officer John Turner heroically demonstrated the impact of a taser gun on himself – just watch the video.
Striking, using an impact weapon (which includes a K9) and finally deadly force are the last and final options an officer should use to control a situation. And in the case of using deadly force, rules such as no warning shots, no shooting from a moving vehicle unless all other available resources failed and only shooting when it is necessary to protect themselves or another person from serious bodily injury must be followed.
According to the police officers policies and procedures, force should only be used to accomplish lawful objectives.
An interesting bit of information I learned was officers cannot be offended by language, according to the policy and procedures outlined.
Understanding the law and procedures are important steps we should all make an effort to learn. It keeps us from assuming what is legally right or wrong. If you have any questions about officer's policies or procedures, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will reach out to our local law enforcement agencies to get you an answer.
Until next time, thank you for reading.
In case you missed it, here is the link to the video of the Officer Turner being tased.
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