The three use of force core values explained
Many of you have heard of the Memphis police beating of Tyre Nichols in which he later died. First, don’t judge ALL police by the actions of a few rogue cops. Their actions are inexcusable, and they deserve the charges against them. Also, their actions have tainted police officers across this nation while causing citizens to question their police about the use of force.
As an armed civilian, you are governed by use-of-force laws that apply to your weapon use. The rules of engagement for police and civilians are not all that different. The more police can explain to people why they do what they do, the better chance we have of turning around false narratives surrounding the profession.
We at Sight N Training have had many discussions with friends and other citizens regarding the use f force by police. We realize that the police have failed, in many cases, to explain to the public how and why police use whatever force is determined in any given incident. Watching the mainstream media gives a tainted and biased view of police use of force. In their opinion, all cops are racist and beat or shoot only black people. Not even close, grasshopper.
There is no consistency or universal standards regarding the use of force techniques since every agency is different and every situation is unique. The only guidance offered for consideration is the US Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution regarding unlawful search and seizure since police use of force is considered a seizure.
Use of Force Core Values
Priority One: Priorities of Life – The hierarchy of life has always been hostages, innocents, police, and suspects, in that order. This lineage of force might help citizens better understand why officers use a particular force option or tactic when dealing with suspects. Understand that if officers can physically take a suspect out to save hostages or innocents, deadly force can be used if the suspect is armed, even if they are not harming innocents at that moment.
As a civilian, you should also set your mental trigger to defend life, yours or someone else. Defense of life and nothing less is a safeguard against improper use of force and puts saving a life as your number one priority.
Priority Two: We Are All Human – Given that police officers are human, they are susceptible to the same human emotions and pressures as everyone else. They get angry, scared, feel pain, get sick, get tired, have family pressures, and make mistakes.
However, police do not do a good job of admitting mistakes, so it appears we are all corrupt and covering for each other. Much of this is exacerbated by the social media that portrays cops as racist killers devoid of emotion. The idea that cops are guilty before proven innocent makes it harder to admit mistakes and defend their actions.
As a civilian, you must understand that you will be held and maybe even charged if you use a weapon or deadly force. You may be 100% correct in what you did, but it still has to be investigated and maybe litigated. Again, that’s why it is imperative that you use force to defend life. As a civilian, you do not have qualified immunity as do the police, which protects them from lawsuits if acting within their official capacity.
Priority Three: The Optics of Using Force Are Not Pretty – Fights or combat in the movies are never as dirty or brutal as the real thing. Because of this, police are taught to use techniques to end physical confrontations as quickly as Many possible officers today try to use optic-friendly techniques, which only serve to prolong the altercation increasing the possibility of injury to the officer and the suspect.
Force is not intended to look pretty, and deadly force certainly will not. When selecting a force option, police officers should not choose techniques just because they look better. Selection is based on what will work best for this situation and against this suspect.
As a concealed carry member who carries a defensive firearm for the defense of life, know that shooting someone will not be pretty no matter where you hit them. Be prepared ahead of time to mentally accept that there is nothing pretty about using force in any manner.
You will go through many emotions before, during, and after a deadly force encounter. But the feeling of saving a life is a far better feeling than the taking of one.
The police need to communicate better why, when, and how they use force and the criteria for its use. There is not much difference in the use of force for police and civilians, so every firearms training class should review these priorities and discuss and explain the ethical, moral, and legal issues surrounding the force options. This would facilitate better understanding from both points of view.