Thursday, March 13, 2008

Use of Force

As part of my job I am preparing exhibits for an upcoming hearing, and one of the exhibits is a form about the continuum of force used by a law enforcement agency. It’s not what I’d expect, and it’s not easy to understand.

Because I think of use of force as a continuum of escalation, I’m surprised that this table is set out with the highest level of force first. I remember when I went shopping for a mattress, and the salesman had me try out the most expensive mattress first: every other mattress seemed inadequate after that. This is a report, not (as far as I know) a training tool, but I wonder about this decision, to order the elements in decreasing amount of force.

As I look at the individual entries I’m trying to imagine the use of each one from several perspectives: as an LEO, as a person being restrained, and as an observer. This is a very helpful exercise; try to get your local agency(ies)’s use of force policies and evaluation materials for your own review.


Rory said...

Kai- more than happy to help explain anything. I think it's just a language construct: the levels are numbered 1-6, with 1 being the lowest level of force. I don't think deadly force was put first, so much as the highest level went to the top of the chart.

The odd/inefficient part to me is that to be understood, the chart needs to be read from right to left.

Would it be useful for one of us to come to your office and give the UofF class just as we give it to the members?

Interrupting Gelastic Jew said...

I don't think it's relevant to work, especially not right this minute. I'd like to know, though. Could I sit in on a class sometime?

So it's not just written bottom up (like the food pyramid) but also right to left? That seems like really bad design to me. Newspaper articles start with the most important information, and give detail below; paragraphs in an essay have the topic sentence first; in the US, in English, we usually read top down and left to right. So all the emphasis is placed on deadly force, as if it were the normal first response instead of rare and something you build up to.