During the past two years, our office has worked with law enforcement and proprietary and contract security firms to establish a prudent and reasonable Use of Force recommendation for sworn private police and non-sworn private security officers.
We have used the U.S. Constitution; reviewed fourteen law enforcement agencies revised Use of Policies and compiled our own in-depth research and experience to formulate a standard policy for defending the employee and the public from imminent threats of harm or death.
Our 10 Recommendations Include:
1. Any person assigned as an armed officer should carry multiple “less lethal” weapons and deploy them first when the threat against the officer is non-life threatening. The “less lethal” weapons should be deployed in the recommended force option and force continuum manner.
The use of “lethal force”, i.e. firearms, should be one of last resort and only used when either deadly force is being used against the officer or there is an imminent and immediate threat of deadly force against the officer or others.
At all times there should be only the minimum and reasonable amount of force used for defense or for making a lawful arrest.
2. Force, of any degree should not be used when a person is merely being verbally argumentative, disrespectful or unwilling to answer officer’s questions or walks away or flees when there is no probable cause or reasonable suspicions to believe that a crime has been committed.
Force, of any degree, should never be used as a punishment.
Attempts should be made to de-escalate situations when reasonable, safe and time and circumstances permit it.
De-escalation tactics and techniques should be applied when there is no obvious threat of imminent danger.
When possible and if the situation and circumstance permits, officers should consider:
Drug or Alcohol Impairments
4. Maintain, update and revise written Use of Force policies and procedures for all personnel including those who are unarmed and carry no weapons of any type.
Policies should be written in clear and plain language as to what level of force is allowed under what circumstance and what notifications must be made after each and every use of force incident.
Additionally,we recommend that law enforcement be immediately notified to conduct an investigation and document any use of force including what is known as “soft touch” or “hands-on”.
Non-sworn security officers are subject to arrest for assault if the touching of another was not in defense of the officer or during a lawful arrest or detention.
It is important for the “third” party agency to be notified to prevent false allegations, arrest of the officer and/or civil litigation.
5. No officer, sworn or non-sworn should be allowed to shoot into a moving vehicle even when the driver is suspected of committing felonies or serious and violent crimes. Shooting at moving targets will increase the risks and liability of injuring or killing an innocent person.
It is also recommended that officers never put themselves in the front of vehicles to prevent the driver from fleeing or eluding as this often leads to an unlawful deadly use of force.
6. Use of Force training for armed officers, both sworn and non-sworn must contain scenario driven techniques, tactics and practical situational exposure including low lighting, under stress, noise and crowds, and confrontations both verbal and physical.
Training must be consistent with law enforcement standards and best practices, state statutes, the U.S. Constitution and the allowed authority for private officers.
This should be an annual re-certification.
7. Security and private police officers, especially those who carry lethal weapons should be certified minimally in basic first-aid and CPR skills and be re-certified every two years. Officers using force including chemical sprays, electrical control devices or lethal force should attempt to render aid when the suspect is in custody and no longer poses a threat to the officer.
8. Anyone who has been subdued, handcuffed or restrained in any manner should never be placed or transported in a prone or face down position as this may cause asphyxiation.
9. The use of body cameras, now common among law enforcement should be used for all personnel armed or patrolling high risk or high incident assignments, contracts, properties or areas especially residential areas such as apartments, condominiums and gated communities or in environments where officers have some degree of enforcement duties including towing of vehicles, issuing warnings of any type, detaining shoplifters or trespassers, stopping vehicles for traffic offenses, or where personnel have been previously assaulted or threatened.
10. Comprehensive written reports should be written in full disclosure detailing the event leading to and including the use of force and anything done to prevent the use of force.
Reports for any level or degree of force should be filed immediately after any force incident is over and all other matters of urgency have been completed.
We at Private Officer International have worked hard and diligently during the past twelve years to provide timely, sound and prudent information, training, resources and recommendations and I sincerely hope that the recommendations that we have compiled here is useful and implemented within your company or agency.
If you would like further information on our recommendations or need force training, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704 831 8109.