Claims of police brutality make the news often. When this happens the question of what is appropriate use of force will come up. There are a lot of different factors that come into the picture when trying to determine what type of force is suitable for a situation. It isn’t always easy to determine and you can’t judge one case by what happened in another case unless they are exactly the same.

When you have any interactions with the police department, you need to make sure that you are paying close attention to what is happening. This includes anything from a traffic stop to them serving a warrant.

Purpose of the use of force

Police should limit their use of force to times when it is necessary to use some force to get unwilling individuals to cooperate with them. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, force is “the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” They shouldn’t use force when a subject is cooperating fully.

There aren’t any universal guidelines regarding the use of force. Each agency issues its own requirements for this. Police officers should be trained on department policies and how to determine when force is appropriate.

When force is necessary

When a police officer has to use force, the goal is to get the situation under control as quickly as possible. This should be the last resort for the officer. If it is possible to get the situation under control with less forceful options, such as tear gas, these should happen. Less-lethal force should always be considered before lethal force.

Situations that require any type of force should be fully documented. Individuals who believe that they are the victims of excessive force should find out their legal options and file complaints with the appropriate entities. While there are some complaints, that aren’t found to be related to excessive force, that require disciplinary action, it is usually better to file the complaint in case you want to take further action.

Because the law and society might seem to heavily favor police officers in these cases, you need to make sure that you are aware of the small nuances that come with these types of cases and how they might impact yours.