Atlanta Ga. May 20 2008
Security Officer Mini Training Camp
Part Three of Five Part Series
USE OF FORCE LEVEL OF FORCE
Whenever a security officer puts on his uniform, gun and badge, he or she faces the same level of threat as their counterparts, the police.
Security officers assigned to high risk areas such as shopping malls, bars or taverns, patrol duty or bodyguard work are constantly in contact with the general public and as a result they are often faced with the split second decisions of using force.
Disturbances, fights, robberies, assaults and even murder or the attempted murder may occur at any time while the officer is on duty. It is therefore essential that the officer be well prepared and properly trained on the use of force. No two incidents will be the same and therefore no two types of force can be used.
The law is somewhat different when dealing with security personnel as opposed to sworn law enforcement officers. When a security officer uses any level of force, the investigating police agency is going to consider whether or not:
(1) Was force of any type necessary; (2) Was the force reasonable; (3) Does the level of force meet the state statue requirements of defending yourself or acting prudently.
How can you be absolutely sure that you should use force, or what force should be used?? If you use force, will you be in trouble, arrested or even imprisoned?
Here are some guidelines to help you make those split-second decisions.
There are two types of force. Non-Lethal and Deadly Force. You must know when to use each!
1. At all times, you must ONLY use reasonable force. Enough force to overcome the force coming against you.
Example 1: A man threatens to stab you but you see no knife. You shoot him anyways. This is unreasonable force!
Example 2; You are attempting to detain a suspect in a burglary and he is fighting you so you use pepper spray to subdue him. This is reasonable force!
2. Deadly Force….is used as a final and last resort. Although in most situations you have virtually less than a second to makethat decision. Shoot or don’t shoot…..You must know when to pull the trigger! Once you do, there’s no taking the bullet
back, no saying “oops it was a mistake”, “I’m sorry”. NO SECOND CHANCE!
The Rule Of Thumb: Use of deadly force is allowed to protect your life or the life of someone else….PERIOD!….You CANNOT shoot someone for property crimes, shoplifting, breaking into a car, or stealing. You cannot shoot someone just to prevent
them from escaping or getting away.
Remember that this is not the movies, it’s real life. You MUST act reasonable and prudent in all situations!
There may be times when you will find it hard to know just what level of force to use But that’s where training and education will kick in.
In recent months, numerous security officers have been involved in deadly force incidents. Some were justified and some were not.
Here are three situations, similar to those that have recently taken place. Take time to ponder them and determine if you would Shoot or Don’t Shoot.
A- While on foot patrol of an apartment, a car speeds by and someone fires 3-4 rounds toward you. You’re not injured and you chase the car as it exits onto the street and sppeds away. You run after it and have your gun out.
SHOOT DON’T SHOOT
B. You and a driver of a vehicle that is illegally parked at a shopping mall have a few words and he slams his car in drive and backs away in a reckless manner. Then he speeds around the parking lot and comes toward you.
SHOOT DON’T SHOOT
C. Stationed at a factory post, you are inside an office area when someone shoots into the office window. You can’t see anyone but you know they must be out there.
SHOOT DON’T SHOOT
Have you thought about each situation and placed yourself there, on the scene as the security officer?
What would you do faced with each situation? Are they life threatning enough to shoot or don’t shoott shoot?
The correct response in all three examples is don’t shoot!
The reason is simple, you are not in driect danger.
In example one, the car left the property after shooting and you no longer are in danger at this moment.
In this example, a security officer in Birmingham Alabama ran after the car, fired several shots and killed a man in the back seat. He was charged with and found guilty of manslaughter and is in prison today.
In the second example, the car may be heading toward you, but it is your duty to move to avoid being struck. A situation in Memphis Tennessee that was similar to the example coast the driver his life and the security officer sent to prison.
Again, in example three, it is don’t shoot because even though someone fired shots into the building, you can’t see who it was. Should you recklessly and nlindly fire outside you could strike an innocent person.
As with hunting, you NEVER fire unless you have a clear sighting of your target.
LEVELS OF FORCE
HAND-TO-HAND – Hand to hand combat should be used to defend yourself from whoever has assaulted you, or someone that you are assigned to protect, when the offender is of similar statue and is unarmed. Only enough force should be used to either ward off or detain the suspect. If excessive punching, kicking or assault occurs the security officer may be charged.
CHEMICAL SPRAYS- Pepper or mace chemical sprays are the next level of force. These sprays should be used as a secondary level of defense to either defend you or detain a suspect. Spraying a person or a crowd just because they are cursing or threatening or refuse to move IS NOT allowed! You must always use any level of force with great care!
IMPACT WEAPONS – Batons, nightsticks, ASP’s, PR-24’s are all types of impact weapons. These weapons are designed to be used to strike and jab your opponent inflicting pain and damage and may be life threatening. When using these weapons keep the strikes limited to arms, legs and torso. Not the head! Use these impact weapons only when hand to hand combat
and chemical sprays have not stopped the suspect.
HANDGUNS – Deadly Force is the last and least desirable level of force in any incident, but sometimes it’s the only force that can be used. Warning shots should never be fired. If you must pull your weapon, be ready to shoot. The use of deadly force should only be applied when the suspect is armed with a deadly weapon such as a knife, baseball bat, handgun or rifle and
has made threats verbal or through physical actions to use these weapons to harm or kill you, or someone else.
Should you have any questions, suggestions or comments, email email@example.com