L3R – 7.6 Force Response to Resistance

Force Response to Resistance

As you assess the situations you find yourself in using the DRM, it is important to know what types of force can and should be used. This is often examined through the use of force model that corresponds with the types of resistance you might experience. Remember to always consider your company’s policies and procedures when it comes to use of force.

I      Presence

Without saying a word, the mere presence of a security officer can deter an individual or diffuse a potential situation by the simple use of body language and gestures. At this level, gestures should be non-threatening and professional. Usually, the professionalism and physical presence of a security officer is enough to prevent a situation from escalating. This is often the best way to resolve most situations that you will encounter.

Example: If you come across someone who appears to be trespassing, you could approach them and ask if they need help. The individual could simply be lost and have accidentally entered the area without realizing they shouldn’t be there. If they are there intentionally, often your physical approach will be enough to make them leave. They may not have realized that someone was watching the area when they entered or decided to trespass.

II     Verbal Commands

The use of voice commands, together with the officer’s presence, is usually enough to gain compliance from most subjects. The right combination of words, tone, and body language can de-escalate a tense situation and prevent the need for a physical altercation. Training and experience improve the ability of an officer to communicate effectively with everyone he/she comes in contact with.

You have been given a certain authority to enforce society’s rules. Therefore, you must act and speak with authority. You can gain the confidence to perform these actions appropriately through your knowledge of the law and your ability to do what is right. You must use the right words for the situation at hand and at the right time. You must be able to communicate skillfully under pressure, such as when dealing with:

  • People who do not want to talk or listen
    • Emotionally charged individuals
    • Dangerous circumstances
    • Being watched by others
    • People who dislike or distrust security officers

Security officers are safer and more effective when they use communication skills to their tactical advantage. It’s always best to start out calm but firm and non-threatening. Your choice of words and intensity can be increased as necessary, or you can use short and direct commands in more serious situations. You may typically use suggestions, advice, or directions continuing through to loud, repetitive commands in conjunction with facial expressions, stance, and eye contact to achieve the desired results at this level.

Unless you are trying to take control of an already physical or dangerous situation, issuing stern verbal commands won’t de-escalate the situation. The goal is always to obtain voluntary compliance and resolve a situation without the use of force.

a.   Verbal Appeals

Types of effective verbal appeals include:

  • Ethical appeal
    • Based upon position as a professional officer.
    • Assures the other person.
    • Persuades others of your desire for a positive outcome.
    • This appeal is useful when dealing with people who are upset and highly emotional.
    • Rational appeal
      • Based on use of reasoning.
      • Appeal to common sense, good judgment, or community standards.
      • Shows that solution is reasonable and most likely to produce results.
      • This appeal is valuable when dealing with people who have a strong sense of right and wrong.
    • Practical appeal
      • Based on an urgent need to change a particular circumstance.
      • Ignores long-term consequences.
      • It is a short-term solution.
      • Adapts yourself and persuades the other person that you are like them.
      • Based on the beliefs and value system of the person.
    • Personal appeal
      • Based on addressing person’s needs and desires.
      • Sets aside own personal values.
  • This type of appeal works well with headstrong people who insist on getting their own way.

b.    Redirecting Behavior

Tools that can be used to redirect an individual’s behavior as part of verbal commands:

  • Listen
    • Sort the real problem from the symptoms of the problem.
    • Determine priorities you must respond to.
    • Determine context of the event.
    • Empathize
      • Understand the other person’s state of mind.
      • See through the eyes of the other person.
    • Ask
      • Use questions to gain control by causing others to report to you.
      • Use questions to direct attention away from the problem.
      • Demonstrates concern.
      • Paraphrase
      • Repeat what you have learned in your own words.
      • Forces other person to stop talking and listen.
      • Helps to ensure that the officer understands situation.
      • Summarize
      • Allows the officer to conclude the situation.
      • State the resolution clearly.

III      Empty Hand Control

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. Empty hand control is characterized by a level of force that has a low probability of causing soft connective tissue damage or bone fractures. This technique may be very effective in controlling a passive resistance physical or actively resisting subject. This would include joint manipulation techniques and applying pressure to pressure points.

Note: The use of handcuffs is only allowed if you are committing a citizen’s arrest. Always refer to company policies and procedures concerning the use of handcuffs so that you do not commit an unlawful arrest

If you have not been trained by a DPS-approved class or curriculum and have documentation as to the training you completed, do not attempt the technique. If someone (including you) gets hurt, you can be held responsible, both civilly and/or criminally.

Officers utilizing empty hand control should consider the totality of the circumstance including, but not limited to:

  • The potential for injury to the officer(s) or others if the technique is not used.
    • The potential risk of serious injury to the individual being controlled.
    • The degree to which the pain compliance technique may be controlled in application according to the level of resistance.
    • The nature of the offense involved.
    • The level of resistance of the individual(s) involved.
    • The need for prompt resolution of the situation.

As with all levels in the use of force model, the application of technique shall be discontinued once the officer determines that compliance has been achieved.

Note: It is always better to not lay hands on a person. Remember that if you have not received proper training in these techniques, you should not attempt them.

IV    Personal Weapons/Non-Lethal Weapons

Reasonable responses to mitigate threatening resistance include the use of personal weapons (arms, legs, hands, fists, feet), as well as intermediate weapons such as impact weapons and chemical spray. These techniques are characterized by an amount of force that would have a high probability of causing soft connective tissue damage or irritation of the skin, eyes, mucus membranes, or bone fractures.

Expandable batons, batons, OC chemical sprays, and stun guns are considered hard intermediate weapons. Impact weapon techniques are designed to impact muscles, arms, and legs.

Intentionally using an impact intermediate weapon on the head, neck, groin, kneecaps, or spine would be classified as deadly or lethal force.

V     Lethal Force/Deadly Force

Lethal force/deadly force is characterized by the application of force with a high probability of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Serious bodily injury includes unconsciousness, protracted or obvious physical disfigurement, or protracted loss of or impairment to the function of a bodily member, organ, or the mental faculty.

A firearm is the most widely recognized lethal or deadly force weapon. Other force might also be considered deadly force if the officer reasonably anticipates and intends that the force applied will create a substantial likelihood of causing death or very serious injury. For example, an automobile or weapon of opportunity could also be defined as a deadly force utility. Deadly force can be a strike to someone’s face resulting in a broken nose and permanent disfigurement, a kick to the groin, a kick to the knee, or other aggressive strikes. Most strikes to targets that are not major muscle groups can lead to breaks and serious or permanent injury and are considered to be deadly force.

A non-commissioned security officer is not allowed to carry firearms. A commissioned security officer is allowed to carry a firearm after successfully completing the required training and demonstrating firearm proficiency. In all instances it is important to remember that there are other weapons, including your own body, that can be considered lethal. If you are forced into a situation where you must defend yourself and others, remember that your actions will be examined from this perspective.