8.300 - Use of Force Tools

Effective Date: 01/19/2019

This policy addresses the use and deployment of all force tools that are available to sworn Department employees. The following force options are governed by this policy:

* Canine deployment

* CEW/Conducted Electrical Weapons (TASER)

* Firearms

* Impact weapons

* Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray

* Vehicle-related force tactics

Specialty unit weaponry

* Hobble restraint

* Neck and carotid restraint

* Blast Balls

* 40 mm LL Launcher

The policies addressing and governing the use of specific force tools are 8.300-POL-1 through 8.300-POL-11, which are contained in the “Use of Force Tools Policy Manual.” Those policies and that manual have the full force and effect of SPD policy.

The Intended Purpose of Less-Lethal Devices

Less-lethal devices are used to interrupt a subject’s threatening behavior so that officers may take physical control of the subject with less risk of injury to the subject or officer than posed by greater force applications. Less-lethal devices alone cannot be expected to render a suspect harmless.

Support officers should be prepared to take immediate action to exploit the brief opportunity created by the less-lethal device and take control of the subject if safe to do so.

1. Officers Will Only Carry and Use Weapons That Have Been Approved by the Department and That the Officer has Been Properly Trained and Certified to Use; Use of Improvised Weapons May Be Permissible Under Exigent Circumstances

Intentional or reckless violations of policy or training standards will result in discipline. Negligent violations of policy or training standards may result in discipline.

The use of Improvised Weapons will be subject to the same standards as Approved Weapons set forth in Section 8.200 - Using Force.

2. Uniformed Officers Are Required to Carry at Least One Less Lethal Tool

Uniformed officers who have been issued a CEW shall carry it.

3. Sergeants and Lieutenants Will Ensure That Each Officer in Their Command is Trained and Certified on the Tools They Carry, as Required

4. Officers Are Prohibited From Using Less-Lethal Tools as a Form of Punishment or for Retaliation

5. Officers Shall Not Use Less-Lethal Tools to Prod or Jab Individuals, to Awaken Unconscious or Intoxicated Individuals, or to Prevent the Destruction of Evidence

Reasonable efforts to awaken or assess unconscious/unresponsive individuals without Less-Lethal Tools, including trained pain stimuli, are considered medical treatment and not force.

6. Officers Shall Consider Risks to the Subject and Third Parties When Determining Whether to Deploy any Less-Lethal Tools

Officers may only use less-lethal force on suspects who are visibly pregnant, elderly, apparently pre-adolescent, or visibly frail when there is an exigency or an immediate threat to any person.

7. Use of Less-Lethal Tools in the Following Circumstances is Only Permitted in Situations Where There is a Risk of Death, Great Bodily Harm, or Serious Physical Injury to any Person

- When the suspect is in an elevated position where a fall is likely to cause substantial injury or death

- When the suspect is in a location where the suspect could drown

- When the suspect is operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle and the engine is running or is on a bicycle or scooter in motion

- When an individual is handcuffed or otherwise restrained

- When an individual is fully contained in a police vehicle

8. Officers Must Use Less-Lethal Tools in Accordance with the Tool-Specific Policies

The policies addressing and governing the use of specific force tools are 8.300-POL-1 through 8.300-POL-11 which are contained in the Use-of-Force Tools Policy Manual.

8.300 – POL –1 Use of Force – Canine Deployment

The prompt and proper utilization of a trained canine team has proven to be a valuable resource in law enforcement. When properly used with strict handler control, a canine team increases the degree of safety to persons within a contained search area, enhances individual officer safety, increases the likelihood of suspect apprehension, and may reduce the amount of time necessary to conduct a search. At the same time, handlers must make all reasonable efforts to avoid unnecessary and unnecessarily injurious bites.

1. Canine Unit Has Operational Control

Canine Unit will maintain a unit manual.

2. Canine Unit Will Train and Certify its Officers Annually, at a Minimum

No handler is permitted to train the police dog in methods, techniques, or activities contrary to the accepted methods used by the Canine Unit.

Strict handler control is the overriding goal of canine training such that a handler must be able to cause the dog to follow the handler's orders

- When the dog is on leash and off leash;

- When the dog is ordered to release a bite;

- When the dog is ordered to bite; and

- To stay and guard without biting.

3. Canine Handlers Must Have the Ability to Control and Will Be Tested Quarterly in Real-Life Scenarios on Their Ability to Control:

- The dog on leash and off leash;

- When the dog is ordered to release a bite;

- When the dog is ordered to bite; and

- Whether the dog can stay and hold without biting.

Handlers who are not capable of demonstrating such control shall not be active in the field until the situation is rectified.

4. Police Canines Shall be Deployed as a Force Tactic Only When Objectively Reasonable

Canine handlers will only allow their canines to physically engage or bite a suspect if there is a reasonable belief or if it is known that the suspect is armed with a weapon or other instrumentality capable of producing death or significant physical injury or otherwise poses an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the handler or others or is engaged in active aggression or escaping. In the case of a subject who has been located hiding, handlers will not allow their canine to seize and extract the suspect if a lower level of force could reasonably be expected to control the suspect or allow for the apprehension.

Releasing the Bite

- Should a bite occur, the handler will as rapidly as possible determine if the suspect is armed and call off the dog at the first possible moment the canine can be safely released.

- If the suspect is not armed, the handler shall order the canine immediately to release the bite.

- When deciding to call off the dog, particular attention must be given to the perceived threat or actual resistance presented by the suspect. Handlers will continue to factor into their call-off decision that the average person will struggle if being seized or confronted by a canine. This struggling, alone, will not be cause for not calling off the canine.

- Without exception, a reference to the duration of the canine's contact with a suspect shall be included in the handler's supplemental report.

5. Canine Deployment Announcements

If Feasible, Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Suspect Prior to Deploying a Police Canine as a Force Tactic and Wait a Reasonable Time to Allow Subjects to Comply. The Announcement Shall Advise That Failure to Comply With the Officers’ Commands Will Result in the Release of a Trained Police Canine and They May Be Bitten if They Do Not Comply

Prior to deploying a canine in any structure or enclosed contained area an amplified announcement shall be made and repeated. This announcement is intended to notify persons within the containment area of the intent to utilize a canine team and to afford suspects the opportunity to surrender to the police. The announcement shall say that there are police officers on the premises and that a trained police canine will be released and may bite you if you do not surrender.

Additionally:

- The announcement shall be clear, loud and audible to all personnel at the operation. Where there is a reasonable belief that the suspect speaks a language other than English, an officer or other individual fluent in that language should be summoned to the scene if available and the exigency of the situation permits.

- The utilization of patrol car address systems will increase the likelihood that the canine announcement is heard.

- An amplified warning shall be repeated as the search proceeds and the canine team reaches a different floor, or parts of the building or other area where the initial announcement may not have been heard.

- A reasonable amount of time shall be allowed between announcement and deployment for the suspect to respond and others to seek safety.

- Containment personnel shall confirm hearing the canine announcements prior to initiating a search.

A decision not to make a deployment announcement shall be made by a lieutenant or higher. The circumstances under which an announcement may be dispensed with are:

- The foreknowledge that there is likely to be one or more suspects armed with guns or another instrumentality likely to result in death or serious physical injury

- In a contained location where an officer ambush is possible, combined with

- A tactical demand for stealth or surprise based upon strong considerations of officer safety, and

- No reasonable alternative will suffice to extract the suspects.

6. Officers Must Justify Police Canine Deployment as a Force Tactic if it Results in Reportable Force

No handler shall use their police dog solely to intimidate, coerce, or frighten any person.

7. Canine Deployments

a. Off-Leash Canine Deployments, Searches, and Other Instances Presenting a Significant Risk of a Canine Bite to a Suspect or Others Shall Be Limited to Searches for Armed Felony or Armed Misdemeanor Suspects, Wanted for a Serious Crime, Particularly One of Violence, Where There is a Clear Danger of Death or Serious Physical Injury to the Officer or Others. In all Other Instances, Searches Must Be On-Leash.

- In the case of known or suspected juvenile suspects, special consideration should be given to the suspect's age and propensity for violence, and officers shall explore alternatives to the deployment of a canine.

- Canine teams should not be used to apprehend anyone suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol if no other serious crime is involved, nor the mentally disturbed or disabled if no other serious crime is involved.

- It is prohibited to use canines for crowd control situations at demonstrations.

b. Subject to the Limitations of the Section Above, the Following Locations are Suitable for Off-Leash Canine Deployments:

- Commercial building searches where there is the possibility of suspects hidden inside, including attics, basements, and crawl spaces.

- If there is breaking and entering at a school, officers will investigate the nature and extent of the offense before requesting a canine unit. Many break-ins at schools involve juveniles engaged in petty theft or vandalism. Canines shall not be used in such cases. Conversely, some break-ins occurring at schools are committed by adults and involve significant theft, such as computers and other valuable equipment. Upon authorization as set forth in the section about “authorization for off-leash canine deployment,” the canine unit may be used.

- Canine searches of residences are discouraged whenever there is risk of a bite to innocent persons. Before conducting a search of a residence, the handler shall make every effort ensure the safety of any residents that might be present.

- Residential searches should be conducted on short leash unless the handler can determine that there are no residents at home. This can be done through contacts with victims, witnesses, neighbors, responsible parties, and officers on the scene.

- The presence of uncontained animals in a residence to be searched will normally preclude the use of canines unless the animals can be lured out or contained. In cases where it can be done safely, an on- leash search can be done in the presence of uncontained animals.

- Prior to beginning an open area search with a police service dog, a perimeter shall be established. A police officer should precede the canine team to clear the area and contact residents to request their cooperation during the search by staying inside and bringing their animals inside unless there is:

- The foreknowledge that there is likely to be one or more suspects armed with guns or another instrumentality likely to result in death or serious physical injury

- In a contained location where an officer ambush is possible, combined with a tactical demand for stealth or surprise based upon strong considerations of officer safety, and

- No reasonable alternative will suffice to extract the suspects or warn residents.

- During the search the handler makes every reasonable effort to keep the police canine in sight.

- Because of the potential danger to bystanders and other officers in open area pursuits, handlers should terminate the pursuit and recall their canine if reasonable alternatives exist.

c. Authorization for Off-Leash Canine Deployment

- In all instances, a canine supervisor and a field supervisor from the concerned precinct shall respond to the scene of the incident. In those instances where a canine supervisor is not present, field supervisors shall monitor the operation and ensure Department policy is adhered to.

- This policy requires canine officers to have approval from an immediate supervisor before the canine can be deployed off-leash. The supervisor shall make certain that the requirements above have been met prior to giving authorization. If the handler is unable to contact a canine unit supervisor, approval must be sought from a supervisor in charge at the scene before the canine can be deployed. The approving supervisor will not serve as a canine handler in the deployment.

8. Post-Deployment Procedures

Immediately upon securing an individual who has been bitten, an on-scene supervisor shall summon paramedics to examine and treat the individual or transport the person to a hospital for emergency or other care. The individual will not be moved or transported by police officers without medical clearance.

The reporting and investigation requirements are covered in Section 8.400.

8.300- POL 2– Use of Force – CEW / Conducted Electrical Weapons (TASER)

This policy applies to the use of conducted electrical weapons (CEW) by all sworn Department employees.

A CEW in probe deployment is designed to stimulate a portion of the nervous system with sufficient pulsed electrical energy to bring about uncontrolled muscle contractions which override an individual's voluntary motor function. Drive stun mode occurs when the CEW makes direct contact with the subject’s body and does not override an individual's motor responses. It is intended to cause significant pain. Use of the CEW in probe deployment is preferred in some circumstances over use in drive stun mode, which can only be used at close range and may cause marks and scarring.

1. Education & Training Section (ETS) Manages the CEW Program

ETS will maintain the CEW operator’s manual.

2. ETS Will Train and Certify Operators Annually

Only officers who have been trained and certified are allowed to use CEW.

3. Uniformed Officers Who Have Been Trained and Certified to Carry a CEW and Have Been Issued One Must Carry It During Their Shift

Officers must carry their CEW in a holster on their support side.

4. Officers Shall Only Deploy CEW When Objectively Reasonable

Officers may use CEWs in the following circumstances:

- When a subject causes an immediate threat of harm to any person;

or

- When public safety interests dictate that a subject needs to be taken into custody and the level of resistance presented by the subject is (1) likely to cause injury to the officer; or (2) if hands-on control tactics or other force options would be likely to cause greater injury to the subject than the use of CEW.

When a CEW is used against a subject, either in probe or drive stun mode, it shall be for one standard discharge cycle of five seconds and the officer using the CEW must reassess the situation. Only the minimum number of five second cycles necessary to place the subject in custody shall be used.

Officers should assume that if they have used the CEW three times against a subject but the subject continues to actively resist or aggress, the CEW may not be effective against that person; the officer shall reassess and consider other options.

Officers shall not deploy multiple CEWs at the same subject, unless the first deployed device fails.

When using CEW in the drive stun mode, officers shall wait a reasonable amount of time between applications to discern if compliance has been gained.

5. CEWs Shall Not Be Used In any Environment Where an Officer Knows That a Potentially Flammable, Volatile, or Explosive Material is Present

Officers aware of environmental hazards shall alert fellow officers as soon as possible.

6. Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject and Fellow Officers Prior to Deploying the CEW

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that a CEW will be used and defer using the CEW a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is not required if giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others. In such circumstances, the deploying officer should document his/her reason for believing his/her safety would have been compromised in his/her use of force statement.

7. The Preferred Target for CEW is Below the Ribcage, Splitting the Beltline

Absent an immediate threat to any person’s safety that cannot be reasonably dealt with in any other fashion, CEW users will not target a subject’s head, neck, or genital area. The center mass of the back to the buttocks is a viable target. Targeting the chest and heart area should be avoided if possible. Officers shall target below the ribcage down to the upper thigh, splitting the beltline, if possible. When encountering subjects wearing heavy or loose clothing on the upper body, the legs should be considered as targets.

8. As With the Initial CEW Application, Each Subsequent Application of a CEW Must Be Individually Justified

a. Officers are Required to Report the Use of a CEW, Regardless of Whether a Subject is Struck.

9. Officers Shall Summon Medical Aid as Soon as Feasible, Whenever a Subject Has Sustained a CEW Application

a. Officers Shall Not Remove CEW Barbs That are Embedded in Flesh

CEW probes that are embedded in flesh shall only be removed by fire department personnel or healthcare professionals, absent exigent circumstances. Probes embedded in clothing may be removed by an officer. Officers shall collect and submit into evidence all primary components of the CEW cartridge: probes, wires and cartridge.

10. Officers Shall Monitor All Subjects Who Have Sustained a CEW Application While They Are in Police Custody

11. When Restraining a Subject That Has Been Struck With a CEW, Officers Shall Use a Technique That Does Not Impair Respiration

Once a subject is under control, officers shall place him or her in a recovery position until such time as medical aid arrives.

12. CEWs May Be Used to Stop a Dangerous Animal

13. ETS Shall Conduct CEW Inspections on an Annual Basis to Ensure That All CEWs are Operable, to Conduct Information Downloads, and Perform Any Necessary Maintenance or Repairs

Consistent with CEW Training, it is recommended officers perform a spark test at the start of their shift, to determine the functionality of the CEW.  When conducting a CEW spark test, officers point the CEW in a safe direction (such as a loading barrel). While conducting the spark test, officers are reminded to check the battery capacity.  If the battery is low, officers will get a new battery from a precinct stationmaster, a precinct sergeant, or the quartermaster.

Officers should notify their chain of command about any operational concerns about their CEW.

14. Officers Deciding to No Longer Carry Their CEW Will Notify Their Chain of Command and Return Their CEW to the Quartermaster or Stationmaster

Officers will notify a supervisor, in person, that they have decided to no longer carry a CEW, and will specify which less lethal tool they will deploy with.

Additionally, officers shall notify their chain of command and the Department CEW coordinator, via email, prior to deployment without their CEW. 

8.300 – POL -3 Use of Force - Firearms

1. Officers Shall Only Shoot Firearms in Situations Where Deadly Force is Permitted (See 8.000)

a. Firearms May Be Used Against a Dangerous Animal to Deter an Attack or to Prevent Injury to Persons Present

2. Officers Shall Only Carry and Use Department-Approved Firearms, Except in Exigent Circumstances

3. Officers Must Pass an Annual Firearms Qualification

All officers are required to qualify with their on-duty, back- up/off-duty firearms as directed by the Education & Training Section Captain. See 9.065.

4. Officers Shall Not Use Firearms as Impact Weapons, Except When a Suspect is Attempting to Take the Firearm or Lethal Force Is Permitted

5. An Officer May Draw or Exhibit a Firearm in the Line of Duty When the Officer has Reasonable Cause to Believe It May Be Necessary for His or Her Own Safety or for the Safety of Others

When an officer determines that the threat is over, the officer shall holster his or her firearm.

Unnecessarily or prematurely drawing or exhibiting a firearm may limit an officer's alternatives in controlling a situation, may create unnecessary anxiety on the part of the public, and may result in an unwarranted or unintentional discharge of the firearm.

Officers shall not draw or exhibit a firearm unless the circumstances surrounding the incident create a reasonable belief that it may be necessary to use the firearm in conformance with this policy on the use of firearms.

6. Officers Shall Not Fire Warning Shots

7. Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject and Fellow Officers Prior to Shooting a Firearm

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that a firearm will be shot and defer shooting the firearm a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is not required if giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others. In such circumstances, the deploying officer should document his/her reason for believing his/her safety would have been compromised in his/her use of force statement.

8. Officers Shall Not Fire at or From a Moving Vehicle

Firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle. The moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies an officer’s use of deadly force.

An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle shall, if feasible, move out of its path instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants.

Officers shall not discharge a firearm from a moving vehicle unless a person is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force.

Note: It is understood that the policy in regards to discharging a firearm at or from a moving vehicle may not cover every situation that may arise. In all situations, Department members are expected to act with intelligence and exercise sound judgment, attending to the spirit of this policy and to the Department’s use-of-force principles. Any deviations from the provisions of this policy shall be examined rigorously on a case-by-case basis. The involved officers must be able to articulate clearly the reasons for the use of deadly force.

Factors that may be considered include:

- Whether the officer’s life or the lives of others were in immediate peril

- And if there was no reasonable or apparent means of escape

9. Pointing a Firearm at a Person is Type I Reportable Force

Officers shall document all incidents where they point a firearm at a person. See Section 8.400.

Unholstering or displaying a firearm – including in a sul or low-ready position – without pointing it at a person is not reportable force.

10. All Firearms Discharges are Investigated and Reviewed

Intentional discharges (including discharges against people and against animals) and unintentional discharges are investigated by FIT and reviewed by the Force Review Board.

Exception: This does not apply to discharges during legal recreational shooting, hunting, military activity, or on the range when the discharge is downrange and the range master or lead firearms instructor determines no investigation is required.

8.300 – POL –4 Use of Force – Impact Weapons

This policy applies to the use of Department-approved and exigent (improvised) impact weapons, by all sworn Department employees. 

Using a bicycle to forcefully strike a subject is a reportable use of force governed by this policy and 8.500-POL-6.

Using a long baton as part of a coordinated crowd control movement during a crowd management event is governed by 8.500-POL-6.

1. Education & Training Section (ETS) Will Train and Certify Officers on Department-Approved Impact Weapons Every Two Years

Officers will be trained and certified to use Department-approved impact weapons before being authorized to carry these weapons.

2. Officers Shall Only Use Impact Weapons When Objectively Reasonable

3. Officers Will Not Use Impact Weapons on Subjects Who Are Restrained and Under Control, or Complying With Police Direction

4. An Intentional Hard Strike to the Head With Any Impact Weapon Is Prohibited Unless Deadly Force is Justified

All hard strikes to the head must be screened with FIT, even if they were mistaken or unintentional.

5. Officers Will Not Target the Head, Throat, Neck, Spine, Groin, or Kidneys with Any Impact Weapon, Except in Exigent Circumstances.

All strikes to these areas must be screened with FIT, even if they were mistaken or unintentional.

6. Officers Shall Not Use Flashlights as Impact Weapons, Except in Exigent Circumstances

The improvised use of weapons, such as flashlights, may present a greater risk of injury than batons. Use of another object in place of the baton, including flashlights, is prohibited unless there is an immediate need to strike and an officer is precluded from using or cannot feasibly use the CEW, baton, or OC spray.

The failure to carry a baton, in and of itself, does not justify the regular use of a flashlight as an impact weapon. Routine reliance on flashlights as an impact weapon is prohibited.

7. Officers Must Justify Each Separate Impact Weapon Application in Their Use-of-Force Report

a. Officers are Required to Report the Use or Attempted Use (swing and miss) of an Impact Weapon to their Sergeant.

8.300 – POL –5 Use of Force – Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray

This policy applies to the use of OC spray by all sworn Department employees.

Oleoresin Capsicum spray (OC spray) is an inflammatory agent that causes an intense burning sensation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. A one second burst applied directly to the face (direct exposure), even with glasses, will usually result in the immediate closing of the eyes. The individual's eyes will likely close, tear, and swell as a result. When inhaled (secondary exposure), the respiratory tract will likely become inflamed and temporarily restrict breathing to short, shallow breaths. The individual may experience choking, gagging, gasping for breath, or, on rare occasion, unconsciousness. The individual may experience nausea, lung pain, or temporarily impaired thought processes. The individual may become disoriented or lose his or her balance.

OC spray may reduce or eliminate the need for substantial physical force to make an arrest or gain custody. It may reduce the potential for injuries to officers and suspects.

1. Education & Training Section (ETS) Will Train and Certify Officers in the Use of OC Spray Every Two Years

The OC spray policy and training will incorporate the evolving guidance contained within the SPD Post-Basic Law Enforcement Academy course on less-lethal force as well as guidance from the medical community.

2. Officers Shall Only Use Department-Issued or Approved OC Spray

Officers will periodically check the manufacturer’s date on their issued OC Spray container and if beyond 5 years, exchange for a new container from the stationmaster or quartermaster.

3. Officers Will Use OC Spray, Including for Crowd Dispersal or Protection, Only When Such Force is Objectively Reasonable

See Manual Section 8.200 for definition and explanation of “reasonable.

For use and reporting of OC spray in the context of crowd management, see 14.090 (10).

a. OC Spray May Be Used Against a Dangerous Animal to Deter an Attack or to Prevent Injury to Persons Present

b. OC Spray Shall Not Be Used Unless the Use of Physical Force Is Necessary

4. Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject, Fellow Officers and Other Individuals Present Prior to Using OC Spray

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that OC spray will be used and defer using OC spray a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is required if feasible and unless giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others.

5. Officers Must Justify Each Separate Application of OC Spray

After the initial application of OC spray, each subsequent spray must also be reasonable and the employee should reevaluate the situation accordingly.

6. Officers are Required to Report the Use of OC Spray, Regardless of the Effect, as Well as the Decontamination Procedures That Followed

7. The Application of OC Spray on Persons in Restraints Such As Handcuffs Must Be to Protect an Officer or Member of the Public from Physical Injury

8. Officers Shall Direct OC Spray at the Specific Subject(s) Who are Posing a Threat

Officers deploying OC will attempt to minimize exposure to non- targeted parties.

9. Officers Shall Assist Exposed Subjects with Decontamination and Medical Aid

If the subject was exposed inside or in a confined space, officers will remove the subject as soon as possible from the contaminated area and expose the individual to fresh air.

Officers shall request medical response or assistance for subjects exposed to chemical spray when requested by the subject, when the subject complains of continued effects after having been decontaminated, or the subject indicates that they have a pre-existing condition (such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, or heart ailment) that may be aggravated by chemical spray.

Officers shall monitor exposed subjects for changes in their condition while in police custody and request medical evaluation as needed or as requested

10. The Department Shall Maintain Written Documentation of the Number of OC Spray Canisters Annually Distributed to Each Employee

8.300 – POL – 6 Use of Force – Vehicle-Related Force Tactics

Authorized vehicle-related force tactics include the PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique), stop sticks, and ramming.  PIT is a controlled and trained forced rotational stop of a non-compliant suspect vehicle used to reduce the risks in bringing a pursuit to a conclusion.  Ramming is the intentional use of a vehicle to strike another vehicle for the purpose of interrupting or incapacitating that vehicle.

Light vehicle-to-vehicle contact, such as for the purpose of blocking a stopped vehicle to prevent escape, does not constitute reportable force, unless it results in injury or complaint of injury.

1. Only Officers Trained and Certified in the Use of PIT and Stop Sticks are Permitted to Use Them

Officers who have completed training in the use of PIT and stop sticks are permitted to use these tactics, regardless of their unit of assignment.

Ramming is an untrained tactic permitted only in exigent circumstances.

2. Vehicle-Related Force Tactics May Be Considered Deadly Force, Depending on the Situation

See 8.200(5).

3. Officers Shall Consider Secondary Risks to the Subject and Other Persons When Determining Whether to Deploy Vehicle-Related Force Tactics

Secondary risks to pedestrians and other vehicles include, but are not limited to, the dangers presented by a spun-out vehicle and loose tires on the road, as well as air bag deployment.

4. Officers Will Report the Use of PIT, Ramming, and Stop Sticks as a Use-of-Force

The use of stop sticks against a motorcycle is considered deadly force.

5. See 8.300-POL-3 for Guidance on Shooting at or From a Moving Vehicle

8.300 – POL –7 Use of Force – Specialty Unit Weaponry

1. The Assistant Chief for Special Operations Oversees all Specialty Unit Weaponry

2. Specialty Units That Utilize Unique Weaponry Will Maintain Unit Manuals and Training Records Which Contain an Inventory and Specific Guidance for Each Weapon

Per Manual Section 12.070, unit manuals have the force of Department policy.

3. Officers in Specialty Units Shall Use Their Weaponry in a Manner That is Objectively Reasonable Per the Given Circumstance

See Manual Section 8.200 for definition and explanation of “objectively reasonable”

The fact that a weapon is part of the specialty unit weaponry does not exempt it from the policy requirements of this Manual. The same principles stated in 8.000 and 8.200 apply fully.

8.300 – POL – 8 Use of Force – Hobble Restraint

A hobble restraint is a strap designed to restrain a subject’s feet.

1. Officers May Use the Hobble Restraint to Temporarily Control Violently Combative Subjects

The hobble restraint may not be connected to handcuffs or other restraints (i.e., “hog tie”).

2. Officers Must Place Subjects in the Hobble Restraint Either in an Upright, Seated Position or on Their Side and Not Face Down, Including During Transport

3. Officers Must Closely Monitor Subjects Who Have Been Placed in the Hobble Restraint

Officers shall monitor for signs, such as labored breathing or sweating, of serious medical conditions and provide for immediate medical treatment as necessary.

4. Officers Shall Report any Use of the Hobble Restraint as a Type I Use of Force.

8.300 – POL- 9 Use of Force – Neck and Carotid Restraints

Neck restraints and carotid restraints are strongly disfavored by the Department due to the high risk of injury or death when improperly applied. Any use of a neck or carotid restraint is a Type III use-of-force, will result in a FIT investigation, and will be subject to strict scrutiny by the Force Review Board.

Known inadvertent contact with a subject’s neck is not a neck or carotid restraint, but must be screened with FIT regardless of whether it results in injury or a complaint of injury.  

1. Officers Are Prohibited From Using Neck and Carotid Restraints Except When Deadly Force is Justified

2. Officers Must Place the Subject in the Recovery Position and Summon First Aid Immediately Following the Application of Neck and Carotid Restraints, if at all Possible

3. Officers Shall Monitor All Subjects Who Have Been Subjected to Neck and Carotid Restraints While They Are in Police Custody

8.300 – POL –10 Use of Force – Blast Balls

This policy applies to the use of blast balls by all sworn Department employees.

1. Only Officers Who Have Completed Department Blast Ball Training are Permitted to Deploy Blast Balls

2. Officers Shall Only Use Department-Issued Blast Balls

3. Officers May Use Blast Balls Only When Such Force is Objectively Reasonable

When feasible, officers shall avoid deploying blast balls in the proximity of people who are not posing a risk to public safety or property.

4. When Feasible, Officers Will Not Deploy Blast Balls Until a Dispersal Order Has Been Issued to the Crowd, the Crowd Has Been Given a Reasonable Amount of Time to Comply, and a Supervisor Has Authorized the Deployment

Exception: Officers may reasonably deploy blast balls to address an imminent risk of harm to a person or significant property damage.

The preferred method of blast ball deployment is low deployment (“bowling style”). Officers may use a high deployment (“overhand throw”) when the need for a farther deployment or the need to get around an obstruction outweighs the risk created by the separating sub-munition.  Officers must document their deployment method and the reasoning for using such in their use-of-force report. 

5. Officers Must Justify Each Separate Blast Ball Deployment

After the initial blast ball deployment, each subsequent deployment must be reasonable and the employee should reevaluate the situation accordingly.

6. Officers are Required to Report the Use of Blast Balls

The deployment of blast balls away from people (i.e. a “bang out”) that does not result in any injury or complaint of pain is reported and investigated as Type I force (See 8.400).

The deployment of blast balls within close proximity to people is reported and investigated as Type II force, even if no injury or complaint of pain or injury is reported (See 8.400).

Exception:  When the deployment of blast balls results in injury or complaint of injury that meets the criteria for a Type III investigation, the deployment is reported and investigated as Type III force (See 8.400).

7. Consistent with 8.200(7), Officers Will Request and/or Render Medical Aid for Subjects Who Appear to Have Been Injured by a Blast Ball Deployment or Who Complain of Pain or Injury Resulting From a Blast Ball Deployment

8. The Department Shall Maintain Written Documentation of the Number of Blast Balls Annually Distributed to, and Utilized by, Each Employee

8.300 – POL-11 Use of Force– 40 mm Less Lethal Launcher

40 mm Less Lethal (LL) Launchers are designed to temporarily interrupt the behavior of a dangerous subject, so that law enforcement officers can take enforcement action with less danger of injury or death to themselves and others. The extended standoff distance that the 40 mm LL Launcher allows decreases officer’s exposure and provides time to bring the situation to a safe resolution. 

1. Education and Training Section (ETS) Manages the 40 mm LL Launcher Program

ETS maintains the 40 mm LL Launcher operator’s manual.

2. The Firearms Training Squad (FTS) Will Maintain Inventory Records for 40 mm LL Launchers

3. ETS Trains and Certifies 40 mm LL Launcher Operators Annually

Exception: SWAT officers will certify annually through annual specialized unit training. The SWAT commander will forward training rosters to ETS within seven days of completion.

Only officers who have been trained and certified with the Seattle Police Department are allowed to use the 40 mm Less Lethal Launcher.

Officers may only use 40 mm LL Impact Munitions (LLIM) in a manner consistent with the Seattle Police Use of Force Policy and training provided by the Department.

4. Officers Who Have Been Trained, Certified and Issued a 40 mm LL Launcher Will Deploy with It During Their Shift

Officers deploying with a 40 mm LL Launcher will deploy with a primary less lethal device in accordance with 8.300 (1)(2)

5. Officers Deciding to Withdraw from the 40 mm LL Launcher Program Will Notify their Chain of Command and Return the 40 mm LL Launcher to the Range Armorer as Soon as Practicable

Officers will notify a supervisor, in person, that they have decided to no longer carry their 40 mm LL Launcher.

Additionally, officers will document the decision to no longer carry a 40 mm LL Launcher by emailing their chain of command and the Department 40 mm LL Launcher coordinator prior to deployment without their assigned launcher. 

6. If the 40 mm LL Launcher Requires Inspection and/or Repairs, the Officer Will Notify their Supervisor and take the 40 mm LL Launcher Out of Service

Officers will email their supervisor, the 40 MM LL Launcher coordinator and the 40MM LL Launcher Armorer prior to deployment without their 40 mm LL Launcher.

7. Officers Will Only Use a 40 mm LL Launcher When Objectively Reasonable

Officers may use a 40 mm LL Launcher in the following circumstances:

- When a subject poses an immediate threat of harm to any person; or

- When public safety interests dictate that a subject needs to be taken into custody and the level of resistance presented by the subject is (1) likely to cause injury to the officer; or (2) if hands-on control tactics or other force options would be likely to cause greater injury to the subject than the use of the 40 mm Less Lethal Impact Munition (LLIM). 

Officers will consider Department training regarding deployment distances and target areas. Each situation must be evaluated on the totality of the circumstances at the time of the deployment.

8. When Feasible, Officers Shall Issue a Verbal Warning to the Subject and Fellow Officers Prior to Deploying the 40 mm LL Launcher

Officers shall issue a verbal warning to the subject, other officers, and other individuals present, that a 40 mm LL Launcher will be used. Absent exigent circumstances, officers shall defer using the 40 mm LL Launcher a reasonable amount of time to allow the subject to comply with the warning.

Exception: A verbal warning is not required if giving the warning would compromise the safety of the officer or others. In such circumstances, the deploying officer should document his/her reason for believing his/her safety would have been compromised in their use of force statement.

9. Officers Shall Consider the Risk of the 40 mm LLIM Round Causing Serious Harm When Determining Whether to Deploy

10. Officers Will Not Intentionally Target a Subject’s Head, Neck or Genital Area

Officers will not target the head or neck unless deadly force is justified.

11. Preferred Target Areas for 40 mm LL Launchers Are:

- Buttocks

- Thigh area

- Calf

- Large muscle groups

12. Only Munitions Purchased, Authorized and Issued by the Seattle Police Department May Be Used by Officers

Officers deploying 40 mm LL Launchers are responsible for ensuring the proper munitions are loaded. Officers will inspect each 40MM LLIM round prior to loading it into the launcher to ensure munitions adhere with this policy.  

13. Officers will Securely Store 40 mm LL Launchers

While on duty, 40 mm LL Launchers will be secured in patrol vehicles when not in use.

When not on duty, Officer’s will store 40 mm LL Launchers in a secure Department locker.

14. Only SWAT Officers Will Deploy 40 mm LL Launchers During Crowd Management Events

15. Officers Must Justify Each Separate 40 mm LL Launcher Use in Their Use-of-Force Statement

16. Officers are Required to Report Each Use of the 40 mm LL Launcher, Regardless of Whether a Subject is Struck

See 8.400-POL-1(3)

Officers should also be prepared to employ other means to control the individual — including, if necessary, other force options consistent with Department policy—if the individual does not respond sufficiently to the LLIM and cannot otherwise be subdued.

17. Officers Will Summon Medical Aid as Soon as Feasible, Whenever a Subject Has Been Struck by a 40mm LL Launcher Round

18. The Firearms Training Section (FTS) Will Inspect 40 mm LL Launchers on an Annual Basis to Ensure That All Are Operable and Perform any Necessary Maintenance or Repairs

Exception: SWAT officers will inspect the 40 mm LL Launchers assigned to their unit on an annual basis.