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Village of McFarland, WI

MPD Use of Force Policy




Subject: Use of Force


This Directive consists of the following numbered sections:

  1. Purpose
  2. Policy
  3. Applicability
  4. Definitions
  5. Procedures


I           Purpose

To provide police officers with Department policy, standards, and guidelines on the use of force.


II         Departmental Intent

The primary objective of McFarland Police Officers is to protect and preserve the life of all individuals they encounter. Recognizing that this objective may at times require the implementation of justifiable force, officers shall use only that level of force that reasonably appears necessary to effectively bring an incident under control, overcome resistance, maintain control, while minimizing injuries and protecting the lives of the officer or another. The authority of the officer is not a license under color of law to use excessive or indiscriminate force, or more force than is reasonably necessary under all the circumstances.

This Department adopts the system of Defensive and Arrest Tactics (commonly referred to as DAAT), techniques and mechanics sanctioned by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board. This policy incorporates the Disturbance Resolution Model (See appendix A).

The following sections of the Wisconsin State Statutes are recognized as legal authority or privilege, within their defined limits, in the use of force:

          939.45(4) Conduct in reasonable accomplishment of a lawful arrest.

          939.48 Use of force in self-defense and defense of others.

          939.49 Use of force (but not deadly force) in defense of property.

          968.14 Use of force in executing a search warrant.

          968.25 Authority for officers under defined circumstances to search a person during temporary questioning.


III        Applicability

This Directive is applicable to officers, performing official police duties on or off duty.


IV        Definitions

Refer to the current training manuals, published by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Law Enforcement Standards Board, for the definition of words and phrases in this policy.


V         Procedures

            A.      Deadly Force: Deadly force refers to the intentional use of a firearm or other instrument, the use of which would result in a high probability of death.

                      1.         An officer may use deadly force when a subject has caused or imminently threatens to cause death or great  bodily harm to the officer or another

                      2.         Deadly force is to be used to respond to behavior, but only if no other reasonable option is available.

                      3.         In a limited number of instances, an officer may use deadly force in attempting to make an arrest or prevent escape. The arrest must be for a serious offense in which the suspect has used or threatened to use deadly force against some member of the public, such as murder, rape, assault with a weapon, etc. The officer must reasonably believe there is no other way to make the arrest or retain custody of the person once arrested. Even if the suspect is fleeing from the officer, there has to have been a use or threat of use of deadly force by the suspect, in order to authorize deadly force by the officer.

                     4.    Where feasible, before using deadly force, officers shall identify themselves and state their intent to use deadly force.


             B.        Less Than Lethal Force

                      1.   Where deadly force is not justified, officers should attempt to de-escalate the incident and may only use that level of force that is objectively reasonable to bring the incident under control.

                      2.    Officers are authorized to use departmental approved, nondeadly force techniques and issued equipment when one or more of the following apply:

                               a. To protect the officer or others from physical harm.

                               b. To restrain or subdue a resistant individual.

                               c. To bring an unlawful situation safely and effectively under


             C.        Other Authorized Discharge of Weapon

                      1.  An officer may also discharge a weapon under the following circumstances:

                               a.  During weapon practice, training, or competitive sporting events;

                               b.  To stop an attack by an animal or to end the suffering of a sick or injured animal.


             D.        Weapon Restrictions

                      1.  Officers shall adhere to the following weapon restrictions:

                               a.  Except for normal handling procedures (such as, maintenance, inspections, securing for entrance to jail or courtroom area) or during training, officers shall not draw or exhibit a weapon unless circumstances cause the officer to reasonably believe that it may be necessary to lawfully use the weapon in conformance with this policy.

                                b.  An officer is not permitted to use a weapon to discharge a warning shot.

                                c.  Officers should not discharge a weapon at or from a moving vehicle except in extreme circumstances and only when other options are precluded. Officers must consider the greater danger to the public.

                                d.  Officers are prohibited from discharging weapons when it appears likely that an innocent person will be injured, except when such person's danger would increase by the officer not reacting.


              E.         Authorized Weapons 

                          1.  An officer is not permitted to use a less lethal weapon, unless qualified in its proficient use, as determined by training procedures.

                          2.  Authorized weapons are those with which the officer has qualified and /or received Department training on proper and safe usage, and comply with Departmental specifications.  

                          3.  The following weapons are specifically not authorized to be carried by officers: slapjacks, blackjacks, saps, brass knuckles, nun-chucks, fighting/throwing stars and other martial arts weapons that are not specifically authorized.


              F.         Handcuffs

                          1.   Handcuffing is a use of force and a means to control and restrain a subject

                          2.   Although it is the policy of this Department that handcuffs be utilized on persons taken into custody in arrest situations, officers do have discretion not to use handcuffs under the following conditions:

                                 a.  Physical disabilities, injuries, deformities, or unusual size of prisoners should be considered. Except where the officer reasonably believes that the person is a threat, or will be non-compliant, should restraints be used when they might cause or exacerbate injuries.

                                 b.   Where a person is compliant and the officer reasonably believes that the person will remain compliant and the subject is in a controlled environment, i.e. department interview rooms during interview/interrogation, and or secure jail setting.

                          3.  Discretion as to the use of restraining devices on juveniles should be based on the following criteria:

                                 a.  The age of the child. No child under 12 years old should be handcuffed absent an articulable need.

                                 b.   Physical size of the child

                                 c.   Nature of the offense (violent vs. non-violent)

                                 d.   Behavior exhibited towards the officer

                                 e.  Threats to inflict injury to self or others

                         4.  Handcuffs should never be applied so as to cause direct injury to the detainee. Handcuffs should be attached firmly and securely, but not painfully or tightly. When used, the handcuffs must be double-locked.


           G.           Oleoresin Capsicum (O.C.)

                         1.   In Intervention Options, the criteria for use of O.C. spray is; "active resistance or its threat.

                         2.   Officers shall request an emergency medical service (ambulance) to respond and insure that the subject sprayed with the OC product has the opportunity to be checked by an emergency medical technician. This is to insure that the effects of the product are reduced immediately, and also to insure that the subject is not experiencing some sort or unexpected side affect.


            H.           Police Baton

                         1.    The Department issues metal expandable or wood batons for officers to carry (officers choose which they prefer).   Wood batons are 26 inches in length. Expandable batons vary in length and are roughly 16-26 inches long.

                         2.    Officers shall only use Department approved baton techniques established by this policy and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Standards on Defense and Arrest Tactics (D.A.A.T).


            I.       Electronic Control Device (ECD)

                         1.     Electronic Control Device: A less lethal force weapon utilized by trained personnel that causes electro-muscular disruption (EMD).

                         2.     An ECD may be used by trained personnel when a subject is threatening to actively resist or is actively resisting an officer and or the subject poses an articulable threat of harm to an officer or other person. It may also be used when the subject poses a threat of harm to himself or herself.

                         3.     Personnel who use a conducted energy weapon against a person shall ensure the person is monitored for injury as soon as practical after the person is under control.

                         4.     If an adverse reaction to the conducted energy weapon occurs, or if requested by the subject, transport to a medical facility shall be arranged.

                         5.   If the probes are imbedded in sensitive tissue areas, i.e. neck, face, groin, or the breast of a female, officers shall arrange transport to a medical facility for removal. If the probes are imbedded in other non-sensitive tissue areas, a trained officer may remove them according to the trained procedures.

                         6.     After the probes have been removed they shall be handled as a Bio-hazard and packaged according to the trained procedure. The package shall be put in a hazardous materials bag and placed into a temporary storage locker with instructions to be destroyed.

                         7.     All officers will be required to successfully complete agency authorized certification training prior to carry and/or use of an ECD, and will be required to maintain certification/re-certifications for continued carry and/or use.


           J.      Written Report Required

                         1.         A written report prepared according to Departmental procedures will be required in the following circumstances:

                                     a.         A weapon is discharged outside the firing range;

                                     b.         Use of force results in death, injury or property damage;

                                     c.         A device intended to be less lethal is used on a person;

                                     d.         As part of an officer's use of force, a weapon is drawn or displayed (including, but not limited to, the pointing of a weapon at another person);

                                     e.         Force is used which is higher or more serious on the force option continuum than presence and dialog (including, but not limited to, empty hand control, use of handcuffs, Taser, and O.C.) and any other less lethal technique or device.

                                      f.       Any time an officer uses any force or physical restraint of any person(s).

                        2.      The narrative of the report should, at a minimum, detail the circumstances of the incident, an explanation of what force was used, why it was used, and the extent of injury inflicted or sustained.


           K.      Medical Aid

                        1.  After every use of force incident officers should be alert to the possibility of injury to the person upon whom force has been used.

                        2.   If injury is apparent, or a person complains of injury whereby medical attention is necessary, officers shall offer or arrange for medical assistance.

                        3.  If medical assistance is necessary, officers should exercise sound discretion in the use of transportation by ambulance as opposed to a police vehicle.

                        4.  Officers may apply first aid appropriate to the injured person, being consistent with the officer’s training and ability.

                        5.  Should officers be aware of an injury which obviously requires medical attention, such attention will be sought regardless of whether or not the injured person requests assistance.

                        6.  Persons who have been exposed to OC spray may have their eyes flushed in accordance with OC spray training guidelines. Treatment at a medical facility is indicated when:

                             a.  The person has not recovered within 45 minutes.

                             b.  The person experiences breathing difficulty.

                             c.  The person wears contact lenses.

                             d.  The person requests medical assistance.



             Appendix A





      A. Decision-Making- Justification

            1.     Desirability

      B. Tactical Deployment- Control of Distance

            1.     Relative Positioning

            2.     Relative Positioning with Multiple Subjects

            3.     Team Tactics

      C. Tactical Evaluation- Threat Assessment Opportunities

            1.     Officer/Subject Factors

            2.     Special Circumstances

            3.     Level/Stage/Degree of Stabilization




             i.     PresenceTo present a visible display of authority

            ii.     Dialogue - To verbally persuade

           iii.     Control Alternatives - To overcome passive resistance, active resistance, or their threats

           iv. Protective Alternatives - To overcome continued resistance, assaultive behavior, or their threats

           v. Deadly Force - To stop the threat



     A.   Stabilize- Application of restraints, if necessary

     B.   Monitor/Debrief

     C.   Search- If appropriate

     D.   Escort- If necessary

     E.   Transport- If necessary

     F.   Turn-Over/Release- Removal of restraints, if necessary



This Directive was implemented on 11-01-11, and will supersede any previously existing policies, arrangements, or understandings to the contrary.




Craig J. Sherven

Chief of Police
























5915 Milwaukee St. | P.O. Box 110 | McFarland, WI 53558-0110 | ph: 608-838-3153 | fx: 608-838-3619