Use of Force Form

A standard, comprehensive use of force form is a vital tool that can help officers write more detailed reports. We will provide suggestions for what should be on the form and how it can be best used by the agency.

General Information: Some of the obvious information that needs to be included in a use of force form include the officer involved, supervisor on duty

Perception of Threat: It’s important to document the officer’s perception at the time force was used.

  • Passive Resistance
  • Active/Continued Active Resistance or Escape
  • Assaultive (High Risk) Behavior
  • Deadly Force

Pre-Assault Indicators: Often times reports do a poor job detailing what officers observed prior to force being used. While any one of these indicators on their own may not have meaning, a combination of behaviors within a short span of time could indicate an assault is imminent.

  • Body size disparity
  • 1000 yard stare
  • Targeting glance
  • Scanning the area
  • Verbalization of harm
  • Repetitive phrases
  • Sudden attack
  • Known/perceived fighting ability
  • Clenching hands or teeth
  • Illogical responses
  • Multiple subjects
  • Weight shifting
  • Personal grooming behaviors
  • Removing hat, watch, etc
  • Crossing their arms
  • Hands above waistline
  • Bladed/boxer stance
  • Hands in  pockets
  • Ignoring the officer
  • Gang tattoos
  • Shoulder roll/stretching

Situational Factors: The surrounding environment may also play a part in what level of force was chosen or if an injury resulted from the use of force.

  • Unstable Ground
  • Nighttime
  • Winter/snow/ice
  • Steep or dangerous terrain
  • Involvement of heights
  • Evading arrest by stealth
  • Evading arrest by hiding
  • Presence of bystanders
  • Residential area
  • Commercial area
  • High crime area
  • Urban area
  • Rural/remote area
  • Water environment
  • Evading arrest by flight
  • Involvement of speed/vehicles
  • Riot/mob
  • Engaged in protest activity
  • Physical exhaustion of officer
  • Inability to disengage
  • Officer injured
  • Lack of backup available
  • Officer on the ground
  • Rapidly evolving situation
  • Subject pulling away
  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Close proximity to weapon
  • Multiple subjects
  • Inability to call for assistance
  • Armed subject(s)

Officer’s Trained and Authorized Options: A listing of techniques that are trained either at the state level or within the department.

Initial Supervisor Assessment: It’s recommended a supervisor be called immediately after a use of force has occurred.

Officer’s Known Injuries: Document any immediately known injuries. Another consideration may be to document any property damaged.

Offender’s Known Injuries: Document any immediately known injuries.