Per agency policy and the Attorney General Guidelines on Use of Force, “Sound judgment and the appropriate exercise of discretion will always be the foundation of police officer decision-making in the broad range of possible use of force situations. It is not possible to entirely replace judgment and discretion with detailed policy provisions.” The following Use of Force options are available to a South Orange Police Officer:
- Constructive Authority - Constructive authority does not involve actual physical contact with the subject, but involves the use of the law enforcement officer’s authority to exert control over a subject. Examples include verbal commands, gestures, warnings, and un-holstering a weapon. Pointing a firearm at a subject is an element of constructive authority to be used only in appropriate situations.
- Physical Contact - Physical contact involves routine or procedural contact with a subject necessary to effectively accomplish a legitimate law enforcement objective. Examples include guiding a subject into a police vehicle, holding the subject’s arm while transporting, handcuffing a subject and maneuvering or securing a subject for a frisk.
- Physical Force - Physical force involves contact with a subject beyond that which is generally utilized to affect an arrest or other law enforcement objective. Physical force is employed when necessary to overcome a subject’s physical resistance to the exertion of the law enforcement officer’s authority, or to protect persons or property. Examples include wrestling a resisting subject to the ground, using wrist locks or arm locks, striking with the hands or feet, or other similar methods of hand-to-hand confrontation.
- Mechanical Force - Mechanical force involves the use of some device or substance, other than a firearm, to overcome a subject’s resistance to the exertion of the law enforcement officer’s authority. Examples include the use of a baton or other object, canine physical contact with a subject or chemical or natural agent spraying.
- Deadly Force - Deadly force is force which a law enforcement officer uses with the purpose of causing, or which the officer knows to create a substantial risk of causing, death or serious bodily harm. Purposely firing a firearm in the direction of another person or at a vehicle, building or structure in which another person is believed to be constitutes deadly force. A threat to cause death or serious bodily harm, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the officer’s purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that deadly force will be used if necessary, does not constitute deadly force.
Deadly force may only be used when the officer reasonably believes that such action is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.
A South Orange Police Officer is under no obligation to retreat or desist when resistance is encountered or threatened. However, a law enforcement officer shall not resort to the use of deadly force if the officer reasonably believes that an alternative to the use of deadly force will avert or eliminate an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, and achieve the enforcement purpose at no increased risk to the officer or another person.
The South Orange Police Department does not authorize, equip, train, or use the following means/methods of Force: tear gas (CN/CS), distraction (flash-bang) devices, canine (K9), conducted energy devices (Taser), less lethal force (rubber or bean bag bullets), chokeholds/strangleholds/carotid restraints.