Use of Force – Verbal Command

Verbal Command

The use of a voice command, together with the officer’s presence, is usually enough to gain compliance from most subjects. The right combination of words and the officer’s presence 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 comes in contact with. You have been given a specific 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 on a person at the right time. 

To do this, 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 officers

The content of the message is just as important as your demeanor. It is always best to start calm but firm and non-threatening. Your choice of words and intensity can increase as necessary; use short commands In more severe situations. 

An essential aspect of the verbal command is that other people in the area hear the command. It allows them to be aware of the situation and assists the officer should they have to testify. It shows the surrounding people that you did everything possible to get the subject to cooperate if a physical confrontation was necessary.

Verbal commands should accompany all successive levels of force
Ex. As before, a person is trespassing, but this time he Ignores you. So now you must add a command. "Sir, this is a restricted area; I must ask you to leave immediately for your safety."