Use of Force

The use of force can generally be defined as the means of compelling compliance or overcoming resistance to an officer’s command(s) in order to protect life or property or to take a person into custody.

Types of force can include verbal, physical, chemical, impact, electronic, and firearm. Other definitions of the use of force in law enforcement may differ. One example of this is the inclusion of verbal force within the definition, which some may not include.

Police use of force can be complicated to explain, as many factors may come into play that provide important context. The Police Foundation’s Use of Force Infographic attempts to answer the question “When can the police use force and what happens when they do?” The infographic provides details on the frequency of certain use of force incidents, sheds light on what is considered reasonable, and shares how these incidents are investigated. To view the infographic click here.

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