Use of Force Policy
I. MISSION STATEMENT
It is the policy of the Nassau County Probation Department (“the Department”) to protect the people and communities we serve. The appropriate use of force by members of the Department is a matter of the utmost importance. Therefore, when faced with a situation where the use of force is considered, the guiding values of the Nassau County Department of Probation shall be those consistent with Federal and state legal standards.
The amount of force that is authorized to be used by officers shall be the amount of force that is objectively reasonable under the circumstances for the officer involved to effect an arrest, prevent an escape, or in defense of themselves or others. Officers are often forced to make split-second judgments about the amount of force that is necessary in any situation under great pressure and in circumstances that are volatile and uncertain. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires a careful balancing of all interests.
A. Objectively Reasonable – An objective standard used to judge an officer’s actions. Under this standard, a particular application of force must be judged through the perspective of a reasonable officer facing the same set of circumstances, without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, and be based on the totality of the facts that are known to that officer at the time that the force was used.
B. Deadly Physical Force - Physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.
C. Physical Injury – Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.
D. Serious Physical Injury – Physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
IV. DETERMINING THE OBJECTIVE REASONABLENESS OF FORCE
A. To determine the objective reasonableness of force, Members of the Department shall consider factors including, but are not limited to:
1. The severity of the crime or circumstance;
2. The level and immediacy of threat or resistance posed by the suspect;
3. The potential for injury to citizens, officers, and suspects;
4. The risk or attempt of the suspect to escape;
5. The knowledge, training, and experience of the officer;
6. Officer/subject considerations such as age, size, relative strength, skill level, injury or exhaustion, and the number of officers or subjects;
7. Other environmental conditions or exigent circumstances.
B. The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene and consider the circumstances perceived by the officer involved at the time of the event.
C. The Department recognizes the vital need for its members to logically analyze each situation, oftentimes rapidly and under tense circumstances, and to respond appropriately to the wide range of emergent incidents, threats and risks.
D. Whenever feasible and consistent with personal and public safety, members of the Department should de-escalate the use of force once a threat and/or resistance has dissipated. The selection of appropriate means of force by a member of the Department shall be based on the totality of the circumstances present at the time such force is employed.
V. DUTY TO INTERVENE
A. Any officer present and observing another officer using force that he or she reasonably believes to be clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force, if and when that officer has a realistic opportunity to prevent harm.
B. An officer who observes another officer use force that exceeds the degree of force as described in subdivision A of this section shall promptly report these observations to a supervisor.
VI. USE OF DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE
A. Deadly physical force is only appropriate under circumstances where it is used by an officer to protect him/herself or another person from what that officer reasonably believes is an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.
B. Deadly physical force may be used to stop a fleeing suspect where:
1. The officer has probable cause to believe the suspect has committed a felony involving the infliction or threat of serious physical injury or death; and,
2. The officer reasonably believes that the suspect poses an imminent threat of serious physical injury to the officer or to others.
C. Where feasible, some warning should be given prior to the use of deadly physical force.
VII. PROHIBITED USES OF FORCE
A. Force shall not be used by an officer for the following reasons:
1. To extract an item from the anus or vagina of a subject without a warrant, except where exigent circumstances are present;
2. To coerce a confession from a subject in custody;
3. To obtain blood, saliva, urine, or other bodily fluid or cells, from an individual for the purposes of scientific testing in lieu of a court order where required;
4. Against persons who are handcuffed or restrained unless it is used to prevent injury, escape, or otherwise overcome active or passive resistance posed by the subject.
VIII. REPORTING & REVIEWING THE USE OF FORCE
A. Any injuries resulting from a use of force incident shall result in the appropriate and timely medical attention being provided to the injured party.
B. Members of the Department shall notify their immediate supervisor as soon as practicable of their involvement in any of the following use of force incidents:
1. Use of force that results in a physical injury.
2. Use of force incidents that a reasonable person would believe is likely to cause an injury.
3. Incidents that result in a complaint of pain from the suspect except complaints of minor discomfort from handcuffing.
4. Incidents where a conducted energy device (CED) was intentionally discharged or accidentally discharged after being displayed.
5. Incidents where a firearm was discharged at a subject.
C. All members involved in a reportable use of force incident shall promptly complete a department Use of Force Report and submit it to their supervisor.
IX. PROCEDURES FOR INVESTIGATING USE OF FORCE INCIDENTS
A. Where practicable, a supervisor should respond to the scene to begin the preliminary use of force investigation. Where appropriate, local police authorities may be called to respond to the scene to assist with the preliminary use of force investigation.
B. Photographs should be taken to sufficiently document any injuries or lack thereof to either the Officer or the other parties involved.
C. A supervisor that is made aware of a force incident shall ensure the completion of a use of force report by all officers engaging in reportable use of force and, to the extent practical, make a record of all Officers present.
D. The completed Use of Force Incident Report and any additional information available shall be promptly forwarded to the Director. The Director shall ensure that an investigation and review are conducted.
E. Failure to comply with this Use of Force policy, including failure to report uses of force as required herein, may result in disciplinary action.
A. All officers shall receive training and demonstrate their understanding on the proper use of force. Refresher courses shall be made available annually.