Use of Force – Intermediate Weapons

Intermediate Weapons

These devices include using any weapon to control a subject not part of the human body. The intent is to disable the subject, not to cause permanent injury. There are two levels of intermediate weapons- soft and hard.

Soft Intermediate Weapons

Soft intermediate weapons are non-injurious weapons such as:

  • Pepper spray is an inflammatory. It results in a burning sensation and a closing of the eyes, inflaming muscle membranes, a burning sensation of the skin, and a sensation of not being able to breathe, which causes panic and disorientation.
  • Tasers discharge a high voltage spark (50,000 volts) at very low amperage. Tasers fire two small darts connected to wires, which drop a suspect at a non-contact distance. These devices are easy to carry. They are lightweight and affordable. Extensive training is not required, and it may be more effective on persons under the influence of PCP and other drugs who do not respond to chemical irritants. They can be handy for controlling non-criminal violent behavior, such as persons who are mentally impaired or under the influence of mind-altering substances.

Soft weapons can cause pain and panic. They disorient the subject and stall his aggression. These items produce the force needed to immobilize the person so that you can temporarily generate compliance.

Hard Intermediate Weapons (for Commissioned Officers)

Hard intermediate weapons like the ASP (expandable baton), straight stick, or PR-24 (side-handled stick). 

According to the Texas Penal Code Chapter 46, Commissioned Officers can carry an ASP or expandable baton under certain conditions; these can be used in many different ways. The hard intermediate weapon gives an officer another tool to use before having to use their firearm. 

If a control technique is applied to affect an arrest, it should be used only to the extent necessary to achieve control. According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards (TCLEOSE) manual, the definition of control “is that degree of influence you must exert over another (violator) to safely take the person into custody.