Use of Force

Topics: Police, Tennessee v. Garner, Deadly force Pages: 6 (2427 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Law Enforcement Systems|
Police Use of Force


I. History
There is an ongoing debate about the use of lethal force versus non-lethal force by law enforcement agents when dealing with dangerous and unpredictable situations. Although many law enforcement agencies have a number of policies that prescribe what kind of force to use police officers often act on their own discretion on whether to employ lethal or non-lethal force. The purpose of this paper is to support the use of non-lethal force versus lethal force in most situations. To some the United States has become a very violent society. Media coverage of the most violent crimes is always covered, especially on the major television news networks. The American people want to be protected and therefore many of them do support the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials, because often what they see with their eyes on the news is usually heinous crimes. However, many crimes which are committed do not physically endanger the law enforcement agent so the use of deadly force is not required. The problem is that too often guns are pulled and individuals are shot without good reason. Some possible solutions are more training in the police academy with less-than-lethal weapons, the invention of less-than-lethal weapons, and properly penalizing officers for using lethal force.

By definition, a lethal weapon is on which would create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm. Examples of lethal weapons include firearms, vehicles, baseball bats, bricks, steel pipes, hammers, axes, knives, and anything heavy just to name a few. Non lethal weapons by definition explicitly intended, designed and employed to incapacitate people or disable equipment with effects that are temporary and reversible. Non lethal weapons should not discriminate and not cause unnecessary suffering. They should provide an alternative to the use of lethal force. Non lethal weapons include batons or projectiles that may immobilize o combative person, chemical sprays, conducted energy devices such as tasers which immobilize an individual by discharging a high voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance. II. Findings

According to my research justifiable force is the use of violence or aggression on another person--legally known as "force"--may be justified depending on the situation ( The first justification in determining if force is justifiable is ability ( Most weapons like guns, knives, baseball bats, screw drivers, box cutters, and glass bottles can be used to kill someone therefore they are considered lethal. They give the attacker the ability to kill someone. Another kind of ability is physical prowess. The second way to access the justifiable use of force is to access the perpetrators opportunity ( Proximity which is the nearness of the attacker to you is an extremely important factor to consider depending upon the weapon in his/her hand. The officer needs to access how quickly the perpetrator can get to him/her. Our third factor and the most important subjective is jeopardy ( Law enforcement officials have to believe that they’re in immediate danger. Law enforcement officials cannot act if they sense a situation of potential jeopardy; they can only act if they adjudge that the jeopardy is immediate. If you get attacked in an alley and the perpetrator stops attacking you and begins to walk away and you use lethal force towards him/her you can be charged with illegal battery or worse. The last factor in justifying the use of force is preclusion, which dictates that force should be used only as a last resort, “that is only when the circumstances preclude all other options” ( Preclusion does not allow for any other course of action except the one that maintains ones safety. Preclusion necessitates the use of the greatest possible self restraint, and it also...
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