The Art of Force: Rules for Police Officers to Live By

National Police Training
September 20, 2012 — 1,326 views  
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Police officers often find themselves in potentially life threatening situations. It is a risk they accept when they put on the badge. But accepting the risk doesn't mean they are ready for it. The "art of force" is about knowing how to evaluate a situation, maintain control of the situation and protect yourself and citizen(s) in tense situations. 

The rules of the "art of force" are simple, but require poise and confidence. Poise and confidence aren't automatic, they are the result of training, practice and knowing and following the rules. The primary rule is to figure out what you're up against. If you don't understand the situation you will be blindsided. The more you know and understand the better prepared you are.

After the primary rule there are five other rules. First of these is to control yourself. If you are panicking you can't hope to control anyone else either emotionally or physically. If you lose control you start reacting and give the other person control of what you do instead of you controlling the situation. Maintain control and you can act based on your assessment of the situation instead of reacting to what others are doing.

Second, control the situation. Choose your actions based on your evaluation of the situation, your assessment of what could go wrong, how to prevent it, and what to do if it goes wrong anyway. Be ready for something you didn't foresee. 

Third, if necessary can you safely perform an arrest? Do you have the means to communicate successfully? Can you reach the person safely? Will he comply or resist? Answering those questions reduces the chance of being surprised.

Fourth, relax. It is tempting to rush into action, but rushing in without examining the situation can turn a tense situation into a dangerous one. Talking calmly may be the best option. Taking your time allows you to find that out. Don't allow yourself to become so excited that adrenalin is making your decisions.

Last, until you know more about the situation, keep your distance. Keeping space between you and agitated citizens helps keep you aware of the whole situation instead of becoming too focused on one small area. More distance also means more time to react to unexpected actions. 

Remember the rules of the "art of force" when situations get tense. They will help keep you and citizens safe when tensions run high.

National Police Training