Police officers are confronted daily with situations where control must be exercised in order to affect an arrest and to protect public safety. Control may be exercised through advice, warnings, persuasion, or when necessary, through the use of physical force or, in some cases, deadly physical force. The use of reasonable physical force may be necessary in situations which cannot otherwise be controlled or resolved in a peaceable manner.
The amount of force that is used by the officers shall be the amount of force that is objectively reasonable under the circumstances for the officer involved to effect an arrest, prevent an escape, or in defense of themselves or others. The standard of objective reasonableness, established by the United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor, is used in this policy and is intended to provide officers with guidelines for the use of force, including deadly physical force.
As the Supreme Court has recognized, this reasonableness inquiry embodies “allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments — in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving —about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”
This policy is written in recognition of the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires a careful balancing of all interests.
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