Police Use of Force Essay

1991 Words 8 Pages
Abstract
Police have the duty and responsibility to enforce the laws and ordinances within their jurisdiction, maintain order, and assist those within the community. Police officers protect property and lives (Duties & Responsibilities of Police Officers, 1975). In the course of duty, a police officer may use force when necessary. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has defined force as “that amount of effort required by police to compel compliance from an unwilling subject” (Police Use of Force in America 2001, 2001). The use of force is accepted as part of police work and is allowed until the force becomes excessive. Excessive force is defined as “the application of an amount and/or frequency of force greater than
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Excessive force has been defined as “the application of an amount and/or frequency of force greater than that required to compel compliance from a willing or unwilling subject” (Police Use of Force in America 2001, 2001). A use of force continuum has been created to provide guidelines for police to follow when using force. Officers must use discretion when determining the level of force necessary because the appropriate level is unique to each situation (Mesloh, Henych, & Wolf, 2008). Police departments may provide different continuums, but the general continuum states the first level of force is the presence of the officer. Police are authority figures and their presence is used to force an individual to comply. The second level of force is verbalization. Police verbalize commands to an individual, and because of their position of authority, the verbalized commands are considered a form of force. The third level of force is physical efforts of control. Police may use their hands and bodies to stop, control, and search an individual. The fourth level of force is non-lethal weapons. Non-lethal weapons include chemicals, electronics, impact, and less-than-lethal itmes. The fifth level of force is lethal force. Lethal force is force that has a strong possibility and expectation to result in permanent injury or death to the individual that the force is directed at (The use-of-force continuum,

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