L3R – 7.5 The Use of Force Model

The Use of Force Model

Use of force varies considerably, especially the wide gap between empty hand control (no weapons) and lethal/deadly force among different agencies and jurisdictions.

The reasonableness of any use of force is determined by assessing the totality of the circumstances that led to the need to use force. Officers respond with a level of force appropriate to the resistance, acknowledging that the officer may move from one part of the model to another in a matter of seconds. An example of a use of force model follows this progression:

  1. Presence – Command Presence and Verbal Commands
  2. Non-Threatening Resistance – Empty Hand Control, Escorts, etc.
  3. Threatening Resistance – Non-Lethal Weapons, Strikes, etc.
  4. Lethal Force/Deadly Force – All Tools

Excessive control results when the level of force is unreasonably greater than the subject’s level of resistance, potentially causing preventable injury. The force used should be no more than a reasonable officer would use under the total circumstances of the situation.

Note: Most security companies have their own policy and procedures pertaining to use of force situations. There is no universally accepted standard set mandated by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The information included in this module is considered a best practice. Always refer to your company’s policies and procedures concerning escalating series of actions an officer can take.

What level you actually enter into the use of force model is dictated by circumstances of the situation. When considering the totality of the circumstances, you should be aware of the following:

  • size and strength of the individual;
  • if the person has access to weapons;
  • does the person appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • potential for injury to others, officers, or the location; and
  • your environment.

I    Arrests

Any individual may, without a warrant, arrest a person committing a felony, a breach of the peace within their view, or to prevent the consequences of theft. Although a security officer is allowed to do so according to the CCP verbiage, you should always refer to the company’s policies and procedures.

While making an arrest, all reasonable means are permitted to be used to effect it. No greater force, however, shall be resorted to than is necessary to secure the arrest.

You should consider the totality of the circumstances when making an arrest. You should be actively attempting to calm the situation and lower the level of force necessary in order to complete an arrest. In response to an incident, a security officer enters the force model at the level appropriate to the resistance.

Your safety, and the safety of others, must always be the number one priority. If there is a situation that will possibly lead to an arrest, immediately call your local law enforcement.

If you witness a situation that could escalate to the point where an arrest is deemed the best course of action, you should immediately call your local law enforcement agency. It is important to remember that just because the Code of Criminal Procedure says you can make a citizen’s arrest for a felony in your view or a breach of the peace, you are not required to make an arrest and should always defer to your company’s policies and procedures.

II                         Dynamic Resistance Response Model

The Dynamic Resistance Response Model (DRM) is adopted by the Department as its use of force model directly related to suspects’ behavior. The DRM is based upon the presumption that private security personnel seek compliance in all cases, and the goal of the DRM is to bring every confrontation to a compliant resolution. In the DRM, it is the suspect’s behavior that determines the use of force. The Dynamic Resistance Response Model (DRM) by Chuck Joyner and Chad Basile seen in Figure 7.1.

Figure 7.1: Dynamic Resistance Response Model

The DRM emphasizes that the individual’s level of resistance determines the officer’s response and delineates suspects into one of four categories: non-resistant (compliant), non-threatening resistant, threatening resistant, and deadly resistant.

a.     Non-Resistant (Compliant)

Suspects who do not resist, but follow all commands, are compliant. Only a security officer’s presence and verbal commands are required when dealing with these individuals; no coercive physical contact is necessary.

b.    Non-Threatening Resistance

Non-threatening resistance refers to a suspect who fails to follow commands and whose actions are neutral or defensive; the officer does not currently feel threatened by their actions. Usually, this manifests when the subject isn’t following your commands, but is also not doing anything that causes you to feel physically threatened.

The courts have repeatedly ruled that it is the officer’s perception of the threat that is important. If the officer does not feel physically threatened, they are not allowed to use pepper spray, a baton, or any other intermediate weapon. Reasonable responses to gain compliance from subjects displaying non-threatening resistance include the use of “empty hand techniques” such as escort techniques, pressure points, joint manipulation, control holds, and take-downs.

c.    Threatening Resistance

Threatening resistance refers to when an officer feels threatened by the suspect’s actions. An officer must respond with a level of force to stop, eliminate, or control the threat. Justified responses include the use of personal weapons (hands, fists, feet), batons, and pepper spray. If the officer believes the subject’s behavior is physically threatening to themselves or another person, then the officer is justified in using personal or intermediate weapons.

Through training and experience, a security officer might be able to see indicators of a threat before the suspect has attacked. The officer needs to make sure to document the perception of threat to protect themselves.

For example, the subject may assume a fighting stance, clearly indicating their intention to fight. This would be classified as threatening resistance, even though an actual attack has not yet been launched.

Another example could be a verbal assault with clearly communicated threats to commit harm. It is reasonable for the officer to feel threatened under these circumstances and this would be considered threatening resistance.

d.    Deadly Resistance

An individual exhibiting deadly resistance will seriously injure or kill the officer or another person if immediate action is not taken to stop the threat. The officer is justified in using force, including deadly force, reasonably necessary to overcome the offender and effect custody.

For each of the four suspect categories, officers have all of the tools in the preceding categories available. In each instance, officers should constantly give commands to the suspect if doing so does not jeopardize safety.

Remember, the suspect’s level of resistance is responsible for the determination of the level of force (response) utilized by security officers.