DT part 2 flashcards |

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  • Factors for Deciding the Use of Deadly Force

    Ability, Opportunity, Intent,


    refers to the subject having the means to carry out his or her intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
    An officer must determine whether the subject has the necessary means to cause death or great bodily harm
    to the officer or others. A weapon is not required; a subject must only have the apparent ability to carry out
    his or her intention. If the subject seems physically able to cause death or great bodily harm, then he has the
    ability. For example, a 6'4", 250-lb. muscular man threatening to do bodily harm to an officer does not
    necessarily need a weapon. By virtue of his size and physical condition, he has the apparent ability.


    means the subject is capable of acting on a plan to cause death or great bodily harm to the
    officer or others. The subject's weapon often determines opportunity. For example, a suspect armed with a
    knife may not be an immediate threat to an officer standing far away. However, the same person standing
    closer or carrying a firearm certainly has the opportunity to carry out his intent to cause death or great
    bodily harm.


    is a reasonably perceived, imminent threat to an officer or another person based on the subject's
    actions, behaviors, words, or other indicators. It is a perception derived from the totality of
    the circumstances.

    If ability, opportunity, and
    intent are present and the officer cannot control the threat using lesser means,

    then deadly force is justified.

    Totality of circumstances

    is a term the court uses to refer to all facts and
    circumstances known to the officer at the time, or reasonably perceived by the officer
    as the basis for, a use of force decision.

    Some situational factors may include the following:

    severity of the crime
    โ€ข subject is an immediate threat
    โ€ข subject's mental or psychiatric history, if known to the officer
    โ€ข subject's violent history, if known to the officer
    โ€ข subject's combative skills
    โ€ข subject's access to weapons
    โ€ข innocent bystanders who could be harmed
    โ€ข number of subjects versus number of officers
    โ€ข duration of confrontation
    โ€ข subject's size, age, weight, and physical condition
    โ€ข officer's size, age, weight, physical condition, and defensive tactics expertise
    โ€ข environmental factors, such as physical terrain, weather conditions, etc.

    The Force Guidelines recognizes that officers
    make use of force decisions based on the

    totality of circumstances at the time of the

    Officers need to clearly articulate the specific basis for their decisions regarding

    the use of force.

    Simply stating "The suspect threatened

    is not sufficient.

    Officers should remember that whatever is written on a use of force incident report will

    seen by not only supervisors but also by a prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, and
    potentially many others.

    The ability to manage stress is based upon a person's

    coping mechanisms.

    challenges or threats are separated by the person's

    perception of self-harm.

    Survival stress is sometimes called

    fear-induced stress or combat stress.

    Survival stress
    is a

    measure of anxiety caused by an appraisal of a stimulus that leads to an extreme state
    of arousal.


    is the officer's evaluation and assignment of challenge or threat
    value to a stimulus.


    is the officer's elevated mind-body state that occurs in the
    presence of a perceived challenge or threat.

    Lower anxiety results in a

    lower arousal

    higher anxiety
    results in

    higher arousal.

    As anxiety increases or decreases it creates a

    psychological imbalance.

    The mind, like all body systems, strives

    for balance.

    four instinctual reactions to survival stress:

    fight, flight, posture, and submit.


    is to completely relinquish control to another.

    Subjects might
    also become verbally and physically threatening, indicating they may resist by


    A subject postures when

    an officer gives him a command. The subject expands his chest and begins to speak
    loudly, shouting, "You're not taking me!" He strikes his chest with his open hands while stepping back and
    forth, side to side as he yells the same words over and over.

    drawing an
    intermediate weapon


    The subject may back down


    preparing to run


    Psychological Changes Under Stress

    limbic system, sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system

    limbic system

    the parts of the brain that are especially focused on emotion and motivation) that
    provides a survival response to the central nervous system.

    The central nervous system is

    composed of the
    sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

    The sympathetic nervous system

    the part of the autonomic nervous system that is concerned especially with preparing the body to react to
    situations of stress or emergency. This system activates what is often called the fight or flight response.

    parasympathetic nervous system,

    sometimes called the rest and digest system, is the part of the autonomic
    nervous system that is concerned with controlling the body during normal, routine situations.

    When experiencing extreme anxiety, you may experience physical changes within your body. One or more of
    the following symptoms of survival stress may occur:

    Increase in heart rate and respiration.
    โ€ข Vasodilation
    โ€ข Vasoconstriction:
    โ€ข Auditory Distortion:
    โ€ข Visual Distortion:
    โ€ข Loss of bladder and bowel control.
    โ€ข Increased Reaction Time:
    โ€ข Motor Performance Changes:
    โ€ข Perceptual Time Distortion:
    โ€ข Perceptual Space Distortion:


    Blood flows into the larger muscle groups providing oxygen to power flight and aid
    in escape.


    Blood flow is restricted from the extremities and skin. The body pulls the blood away
    from the arms and legs into the torso. This keeps the blood near vital organs in case of emergency and
    also protects the arms and legs (our weapons) from losing blood in case of injury.

    Auditory Distortion

    Hearing may be diminished or amplified.

    Visual Distortion:

    Due to physiological changes in the eye, vision may become distorted. Officers may
    as see darkness around the edges of their vision (tunnel vision). Officers may also lose the ability to see
    close objects with detail (farsightedness).

    Eye gaze

    is the tendency of your eyes to fixate to one location.

    Fine motor skills

    refer to the muscle control required to make small, precise movements, such as unlocking
    handcuffs with a key.

    Gross motor skills

    are the
    movements of the large or major muscles of the body, which are used in tasks such as running,
    punching, or kicking.

    Complex motor skills

    combine fine and gross motor skills using hand and eye coordination timed to a single event, such
    as driving a vehicle

    Perceptual Time Distortion:

    Occurrences seem to be faster or slower than they actually are.

    Perceptual Space Distortion:

    Objects appear to be closer or farther than they actually are.


    are mental shortcuts that allow people to solve problems and make judgments
    quickly and efficiently.

    Signs of stress are often indicated in

    vocal quality and speech pattern.

    Cursing is emotional speech that may
    demonstrate that an officer is in a

    state of high arousal during or immediately following a critical incident.

    "exhilaration speech"

    officers who are in a state of
    high arousal later regret or do not recall the things they have said during this period of anxiousness. which reflects a series of statements brought on by a euphoric feeling of accomplishment the officer experiences after prevailing in the critical incident.

    The Threat Awareness Spectrum

    is a color-coded illustration of how survival stress may affect an officer's reaction to a perceived challenge or threat. The desired state of awareness and readiness of an officer while on routine duty is Condition Yellow.

    An officer in Condition Yellow can quickly

    move to Condition
    Orange or Condition Red based on the appraisal of a given situation. Condition White and Condition Black
    are not optimum states of readiness for officers on duty.

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