I started taking another citizens’ police academy. This is my third, and I learn new things every time. The session focused on use of force. There are very strict guidelines on the type of force that can be used in different circumstances. Police officers must make an instantaneous decision on what level of force to employ to protect themselves, members of the public and the person they’re dealing with. There are different levels of control the police can apply including:
- officer presence
- verbal direction
- soft empty hand control (physical contact to cause pain but not bodily injury)
- hard empty hand control (including baton, pepperball, taser, beanbag shot from shotgun)
- deadly force
We saw a video clip of officers in training being hit with a taser, and then the instructor demonstrated a taser on a mockup. A taser completely incapacitates the target person, but once it’s turned off the individual returns to normal. I can assure you, I don’t ever want to be the recipient of a taser shot.