Training for what happens after use of force

Use of force training has come a long way over the past couple of decades but most programs fail to adequately emphasize proper post-incident, response-to-resistance documentation


By Chris Myers

Use-of-force training has come a long way over the past couple of decades. My training partners and I have had the good fortune to train all over North America and Europe, and for the most part, officers are very well trained in use of force skills, tactics, and the selection of force options. The one are that seems to be lacking in most programs is post-incident response-to-resistance documentation.

Federal Court is often full of cases where officers in difficult situations used their training, made good reasonable force decisions, and resolved a tense uncertain situation, but the post incident paperwork didn’t adequately reflect the good police work that was done.

As a police instructor, if I ask the average officer to tell me about their last fight, they will often discuss at length the techniques and tactics they used, and the resulting effects. This is what we as police trainers have trained them to do. What they do not do however is describe what the courts want to hear. Most officers don’t adequately talk about the actions of the suspect, and the totality of the scene that led them to select the force used.

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