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Use of Force Policy


To provide sworn members with guidelines for the use of non-lethal and lethal force.


It is the policy of this Department to value and preserve human life in accordance with K.S.A. 21-5227.

Sworn members will use only the force that is objectively reasonable to effectively bring an incident under control, while protecting the safety of the sworn member and others.

When safe and objectively reasonable, sworn members will use de-escalation tactics to accomplish lawful outcomes. Sworn members will assess the threat of a situation based on their knowledge and experience. The goal of de-escalation is to resolve an incident with lowest potential of injury to the public, law enforcement officers and suspects.

Sworn members will only carry Department issued equipment after successful completion and certification by the Training Division.

Sworn members will use force only when no reasonably effective alternative appears to exist and will use only the level of force which is objectively reasonable considering the totality of the circumstances.

Sworn members will not destroy any animal without the appropriate training.

A sworn member has a duty to immediately intervene to prevent or stop the use of excessive force by another when it is safe and reasonable to do so.

Any member will immediately notify their supervisor/commander if they observe another Department member, or public safety associate, engage in any unreasonable use of force, or if they become aware of any violation of Department policy, State or Federal law, local ordinance, or an individual’s Constitutional or Civil Rights. The member will then document the information and the notification and submit the documentation to their appropriate supervisor.

Any deviation from this policy may result in disciplinary action.

Warning shots are prohibited.


Active Aggression – Resistance that is assaultive in nature to harm a sworn member or others using physical actions intended to harm, effect an escape or resist being placed in custody.

Active Resistance – Resistance which is physical but not assaultive or threatening in nature. Examples would include clinging to objects, escape.

Arc-Display – The activation of the CEW resulting in a visual display of electrical arcing across the front electrodes. Utilized to gain compliance through a threat of force.

Cartridge – A replaceable cartridge which uses compressed nitrogen propulsion system to deploy two barbed probes on thin connecting wires, sending a high voltage/low current signal into a subject.

Chokehold – A physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breath (may only be used at lethal force).

Conducted Electrical Device (CEW) An intermediate weapon primarily designed to disrupt a subject’s central nervous system by means of deploying electrical energy sufficient to cause uncontrolled muscle contractions and override an individual’s voluntary motor response.

De-Escalation – Proactive actions and approaches used to stabilize a situation so that sworn members have time to disengage, re-evaluate a situation and assemble the proper resources, equipment, and personnel to promote thoughtful resolutions to situations and to reduce the likelihood of harm to all persons. Such tactics may include members making reasonable attempts to identify whether a person’s lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist rather than an inability to comply; verbal persuasion; warnings; tactical techniques; slowing down the pace of an incident; waiting out a subject; creating distance; and requesting additional resources.

Deployment – To administer or attempt to administer the CEW in order to gain compliance by a drive stun, probe deployment, or a three-point deployment.

Display – Removing the CEW from the holster to gain compliance through a threat of force or prepare the weapon to be used.

Drive Stun – Use of the CEW without probe deployment by placing the CEW in contact with the subject to gain compliance through pain.

Expandable Baton - An intermediate weapon used as a striking device or as tool to assist in controlling a subject.

Function Test – Daily check performed by the sworn member to ensure the CEW is operational.

Great Bodily Harm – Injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious permanent disfigurement, or results in long term loss or impairment of the functioning of any bodily member or organ.

Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint (LVNR) – Disrupts the flow of blood to or from the brain for the purposes of incapacitation (may only be used at lethal force).

Lethal Force Any use of force that creates a substantial risk of causing death or great bodily harm.

Non-Lethal Force – Any use of force other than that which is considered lethal force that involves physical effort to control, restrain, or overcome the resistance of another.

Objectively Reasonable The reasonableness of the particular use of force applied is based on the totality of circumstances known by the sworn member at the time and weighs the actions of the sworn member against the rights of the subject, in light of the circumstances surrounding the event. It must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable sworn officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

Passive Resistance – Non-compliance with a lawful order of a sworn member including the person who remains limp, utilizes their own dead weight, remains in a prone position, or who expresses mere verbal disagreement not threatening to a sworn member or others.

Probe – Dart-like projectile which is attached to the 21’ length of copper wire that is propelled from a CEW cartridge and utilizes barbs to attach to subject.

Probe Deployment – Utilizing compressed nitrogen to propel probes from the CEW cartridge to the subject to complete an electrical circuit to achieve neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI)

Three-point Deployment – CEW probe deployment followed by a drive stun to increase the probability of a NMI on the subject.


  1. General Guidelines
    1. The decision to use force requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each incident, including the severity of the crime, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the sworn member or others, and whether they are actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.
    2. When a sworn member has made the decision to use any level of force, the sworn member will give clear, repetitive, verbal commands (i.e., stop resisting, hands behind your back), when practical. Sworn members will document all verbal commands given to the individual on the appropriate report form.
    3. Use of physical force should be discontinued when resistance ceases or when the incident is under control.
    4. Control techniques can be used against individuals in restraints, when objectively reasonable to prevent their escape or prevent imminent bodily harm to the individual, the sworn member, or another person. In these situations, only the minimal amount of force necessary to control the situation will be used.
    5. All sworn members need to realize that if a particular technique or item of equipment is not achieving the desired result to gain compliance they will stop and develop a new approach. Be flexible with tactics, ready to adapt as the situation allows in order to do the least amount of harm during any use of force.
    6. Once the scene is safe and as soon as practical, a sworn member will provide appropriate medical care consistent with their training to any individual who has visible injuries, complains of being injured, or requests medical attention. Including providing first aid, requesting a rapid response or EMS, if outside of the response team’s boundaries, and/or transporting ambulatory subjects to KU Emergency Department. The results of that medical attention or the subject’s refusal of treatment will be noted in the report and in the appropriate section of the Defensive Action Report.
    7. The sworn member will immediately notify their supervisor/commander of the events. The supervisor/commander will determine if a report will be taken.
    8. All uses of force will be documented, investigated, and reviewed by the chain of command.
  2. Guidelines for Non-Lethal Force
    1. When de-escalation techniques are not effective or appropriate, a sworn member may consider the use of non-lethal force to control a passive resistive or actively resistant individual.
    2. A sworn member is authorized to use Department approved, non-lethal force techniques, i.e., pressure points, hand strikes, joint locks.
      1. To protect the sworn member or another person from bodily harm.
      2. To restrain or subdue an individual who is actively resisting or evading arrest.
      3. To prevent persons from injuring themselves.
      4. To bring an unlawful situation safely and effectively under control.
      5. Effect and safely maintain lawful investigative stops, arrests, and searches.
      6. To prevent escapes from custody
    3. The amount and level of non-lethal force used must be reasonable. A determination of reasonableness should be based on an assessment of the factors present, including but not limited to:
      1. The seriousness and nature of the offense.
      2. The suspect's physical ability, mental competence and degree of resistance or violence toward the sworn member or others.
      3. Is physical control of a person immediately necessary? Can de-escalation tactics be used to defuse and handle the situation without force?
      4. Will the use of force escalate violence or create unreasonable risk of injury to the sworn member or other persons?
  3. The CEW and the expandable baton are considered an intermediate non-lethal level of control to be used when a sworn member or others are in immediate threat or there is a flight risk.
    1. Only a Department issued CEW will be carried. The CEW will be carried on the non-gun side or on the outer vest, in a Department issued/approved holster.
    2. A function check will be conducted at the beginning of each shift.
    3. A sworn member’s decision to utilize a CEW will be made in accordance with guidelines set forth in this written directive and should be weighed by the three benchmark scales regarding use of force which are:
      1. Severity of the crime.
      2. Immediacy of the threat to sworn members or public.
      3. Whether the subject is resisting or attempting to flee.
    4. The sworn member deploying the CEW:
      1. Is required to give clear verbal commands ensuring both the subject and sworn members understand the intention to utilize the CEW.
      2. Will call out “Belt-Check,” “TASER TASER TASER,” or “Hip Check” just before a probe deployment. The announcement will alert sworn members of imminent use of the CEW but will not alert the subject of their intent. It is also a reminder to sworn members to aim to split the belt line to achieve NMI.
    5. A CEW or expandable baton will not be deployed in cases involving minor offenses and in the absence of active physical resistance, unless there is an immediate safety risk to sworn members attempting arrest.
    6. The CEW will not be used:
      1. As a means of punishment or coercion.
      2. On subjects who are passive or escape resistant only.
      3. Once a subject is handcuffed or restrained and compliant. If a handcuffed or restrained subject is actively resisting or exigent circumstances exist, the sworn member may use approved defensive techniques to stop resistance.
      4. On persons operating a motor vehicle or directed at a moving vehicle.
      5. When incapacitation of the subject would reasonably cause death or great bodily harm.
      6. On people with the following conditions:
        1. Pregnant or suspected of being pregnant.
        2. Persons with known heart conditions or pacemakers.
      7. On a known juvenile unless warranted by the level of resistance.
    7. Sworn members will be cognizant of their surrounding using, the “objectively reasonable” standard, prior to using the CEW in the following conditions:
      1. On or near stairs or ledges where risk of injury from falling is a consideration.
      2. Close proximity of flammable liquids, gases, blasting material or any highly combustible material.
    8. There are five (5) types of reportable CEW applications. Whenever a reportable CEW application is conducted, immediate notification to on-duty supervisor will be made.
      1. Display (Visual or Arc.
      2. Drive Stun.
      3. Probe Deployment
      4. Three Point Deployment
      5. Unintentional, Negligent, or Accidental Discharge. Any discharge other than an intentional discharge use of force is considered an unintentional, negligent, or accidental discharge
  4. Guidelines for Lethal Force
    1. A sworn member is authorized to use lethal force when it is objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. Use of lethal force is justified when one or both of the following apply:
      1. To protect the sworn member or others from what is reasonably believed to be an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm.
      2. To prevent the escape of a fleeing subject when the sworn member has probable cause to believe that the person has committed or intends to commit a felony involving great bodily harm or death, and the sworn member reasonably believes that there is an imminent risk of great bodily harm or death to the sworn member or another person if the subject is not immediately apprehended.
    2. Where feasible, the sworn member will identify themselves as a sworn member and warn of their intent to use lethal force.
    3. Lethal force shall not be used against persons whose actions are a threat only to themselves or property.
    4. Firearms will not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless:
      1. A person in the vehicle is threatening the sworn member or another person with lethal force by means other than the vehicle; or
      2. The vehicle is operated in a manner deliberately intended to strike a sworn member or another person, and all other reasonable means of defense have been exhausted (or are not present or practical), which includes moving out of the path of the vehicle.
    5. Firearms will not be discharged from a moving vehicle.
    6. The use of a chokehold or LVNR is not sanctioned nor trained by the Department to subdue a subject. Chokeholds/LVNRs are prohibited unless lethal force is authorized.
    7. Nothing in this policy prohibits the use of an extraordinary technique or tool by a sworn member when defending themselves from a great bodily harm or lethal attack.
    8. The evaluation of the extraordinary technique or tool will use the standard of “objective reasonableness” given the situation.
  5. Reporting Procedures
    1. Sworn members that use or threaten lethal force or use non-lethal force, will notify the on-duty supervisor as soon as practical after successfully stabilizing the incident.
    2. On-duty supervisors will notify the watch/on-call commander upon notification of a sworn member using or threatening lethal force.
    3. When lethal force is used or a member is unable to complete, the notified supervisor or commander will complete the Defensive Action Report.
    4. Sworn members are not required to complete a Defensive Action Report when:
      1. Guiding an individual’s hands behind their back or using take down techniques for handcuffing.
      2. Physically escorting (escort positions) an individual and guiding them while they are walking and supporting their own weight and not pulling away.
      3. Physically touches an individual who is pulling away but is following the sworn members verbal direction and walks with the sworn member.
      4. Holding down an individual (possible use of joint locks) so medical staff can apply medical restraints.
      5. Mere physical redirection of an individual back onto a hospital bed or gurney and the individual is held down by sworn member.
      6. They are injured during a physical altercation, but the injured sworn member was not actively using any of the reportable defensive actions outlined in Section E, 5 of this directive.
    5. Sworn members will complete a Defensive Action Report anytime they:
      1. Threaten and/or use lethal force.
      2. Use of any approved techniques.
        1. Hand strikes.
        2. Intermediate weapons.
        3. Take down methods not used in conjunction with handcuffing.
      3. Discharges a firearm, for other than training, recreational purposes, or to destroy an animal as outlined in Firearms policy
      4. Takes an action that results in, or is alleged to have resulted in, injury or death of another person.
      5. Are instructed to do so by a shift supervisor, division commander or higher-ranking administrator that has reviewed the incident video and deem it necessary.
    6. Each sworn member using force will submit a separate Defensive Action Report as outlined in this section. The Defensive Action Report will detail what force that sworn member utilized in that specific situation.
    7. Defensive Action reports will be submitted prior to end of shift of the incident, if the sworn member(s) are physically able to complete them. The report will be submitted to the notified supervisor or commander.
    8. Once Defensive Action Report(s) are submitted by involved sworn member(s), the following procedure should be followed:
      1. If the notified supervisor is the rank of corporal or master officer, they will review the Watchguard video with the sworn member(s) to ensure report accuracy and forward to the member(s) supervisor.
      2. The notified/reviewing supervisor will review the submitted report(s) along with all available evidence and documentation to include any Voluntary Statement Forms from witnesses.  The notified/reviewing supervisor will complete the packet by determining if actions were within policy and signing.
        NOTE: If the notified supervisor uses force during the incident, the notified commander will complete this step.
      3. The complete packet will be forwarded to the Training Division. The Training Division will review and determine if actions were within training and sign.
      4. The complete packet will be forwarded to the member’s commander. The member’s commander will review and determine if actions were within policy and sign.
        1. If action were within policy and training, the member’s commander will forward the complete packet to the Investigations Commander
        2. If actions were not within policy or training, the notified Commander will forward the complete packet to the Chief of Police or designee.
      5. Additional investigation may be completed or ordered by the Chief of Police or designee.
      6. Upon completion, the complete packet will be forwarded to the Investigations Commander.
Public Safety

University of Kansas Medical Center
Public Safety Department
Mail Stop 1004
2100 West 36th Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-5030
Fax: 913-588-5124