Use of force Training for Police Officers

Far too often the public’s perception of the use of force by police is different from those who are in law enforcement. Police officers are constantly encountering individuals who want to resist, fight or obstruct a police officer's ability to safely complete his job. Apex Officer provides law enforcement agencies with training in arrest control techniques which provides for less injury to the suspects and officers, when encountering situations requiring the use of "hands-on" applications.

Apex Officer is the best VR training simulator for police officers and law enforcement agencies.
Apex Officer is the best VR training simulator for police officers and law enforcement agencies.


Use of Force Training

Use of Force Training Learning Need

Peace officers must recognize that they have the authority to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance as authorized by the Penal Code. For their safety, and for the safety and well-being of fellow officers, it is critical that peace officers know the laws governing the use of force.

Use of Force Learning Objectives

  • Discuss reasonable force as stated by law.
  • Discuss the components of the Fourth Amendment standard for determining objective reasonableness, as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Explain the legal framework establishing a peace officer’s authority during a legal arrest, including: - subject’s requirement to submit to arrest Without resistance - peace officer’s authority to use reasonable force during a detention or arrest.
  • Identifying the circumstances set forth in the Penal Code when a peace officer has the authority to use force.
  • Discuss the level of authority agency policies have regarding the use of force by a peace officer.

Use of Force Continuum

Most law enforcement agencies have internal policies that guide their use of force. These policies describe a escalating series of actions an officer may take to resolve a situation. This Use of Force continuum generally has many levels, and officers are instructed to respond with a level of force appropriate to the situation at hand, acknowledging that the officer may move from one part of the continuum to another in a matter of seconds.

Example of a Use of Force continuum:

1) Officer Presence

  • No force is used. Considered the best way to resolve a situation.
  • The mere presence of a law enforcement officer works to deter crime or diffuse a situation.
  • Officers' attitudes are professional and nonthreatening.

2) Verbalization

  • Force is not-physical.
  • Officers issue calm, nonthreatening commands, such as "Let me see your identification and registration."
  • Officers may increase their volume and shorten commands in an attempt to gain compliance. Short commands might include "Stop," or "Don't move."

3) Empty Hand Control

  • Officers use bodily force to gain control of a situation.
  • Soft technique. Officers use grabs, holds and joint locks to restrain an individual.
  • Hard technique. Officers use punches and kicks to restrain an individual.

4) Less-Lethal Methods

  • Officers use less-lethal technologies to gain control of a situation.
  • Blunt impact. Officers may use a baton or projectile to immobilize a combative person.
  • Chemical. Officers may use chemical sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals to restrain an individual (e.g., pepper spray).
  • Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). Officers may use CEDs to immobilize an individual. CEDs discharge a high-voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance.

5) Lethal Force

  • Officers use lethal weapons to gain control of a situation. Should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual.
  • Officers use deadly weapons such as firearms to stop an individual's actions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of use of force?

In the context of law enforcement, use of force may be defined as "the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject."

What are the levels of use of force?

Law enforcement agencies have their own "Force Continuum," a scale used to determine the proper type of force to use.

  1. Level 1 - Officer Presence
  2. Level 2 - Verbalization (Verbal Commands)
  3. Level 3 - Empty Hand Control
  4. Level 4 - Less-Lethal Methods
  5. Level 5 - Lethal Force

What is deadly force?

Deadly force, also known as lethal force, is use of force that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to another person.

When can police use force?

Police officers are generally allowed to use reasonable force to take a person into custody.

What is reasonable force?

Courts decide whether an officer’s use of force was unreasonable on a case-by-case basis, taking into account:

  1. The severity of the crime.
  2. Whether the suspect posed a threat.
  3. Whether the suspect was resisting or attempting to flee (Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989)).

Why is Use of Force Training Important for police officers?

Far too often the public’s perception of the use of force by police is different from those who are in law enforcement. Over the last decade, use of force training has evolved dramatically as more sophisticated technology became available, and high-profile cases such as the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri brought increased media and public scrutiny to how departments train their officers. The ubiquity of mobile phone cameras has also played a role, making it almost a foregone conclusion that any confrontation that an officer has in public will be recorded or placed on social media.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 40 million persons had contact with police during the most recent year for which data was gathered (2008). An estimated 776,000 (1.9 percent) of the 40 million contacted respondents reported the use or threatened use of force at least once during these contacts.

Police officers are constantly encountering individuals who want to resist, fight or obstruct a police officer's ability to safely complete his job. APEX Officer provides law enforcement agencies with training in arrest control techniques which provides for less injury to the suspects and officers, when encountering situations requiring the use of "hands-on" applications.

Why are use of force simulators the best option for police training?

According to a recent study on "The Effectiveness of Use of Force Simulation Training," conducted by Carleton University, "simulator training often appears to be more effective than alternative approaches." Use of force police training simulators offer several advantages over other pedagogical options. For example, simulator training allows for many more practice trials than would occur ordinarily and the training can be individually tailored to meet instructional purposes. Instructors can pinpoint an individual officer's strengths and weaknesses and design their training plan around this. Furthermore, with simulator based training, the trainee is afforded the opportunity to commit errors that in the real world would result in fatal consequences.

Why is Apex Officer's use of force simulator better than other training simulators?

Unlike earlier use of force instructional methods and simulators, such as range shooting, Apex Officer's virtual reality use of force training simulator is designed to provide more realistic training and covers a broader range of use of force options. Our approach accepts that mastering specific skills is a crucial component of any training regime, but the ability to apply those skills appropriately under stressful (i.e., sub-optimal) conditions is where Apex Officer training simulator stand out from the crowd.

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