Deadly Force a "Judgement Call"
The use of deadly force is always a judgement call with multiple factors, according to officials.
The use of deadly force is always a judgement call with a number of factors, according to a representative from the Municipal Police Training Committee which sets police training standards.
“It is always going to be a judgement call," said Terrel Harris, an MPTC Spokesperson. "The one thing they try to instill in officers in training is that 90 percent of what they do is a judgment call and you have to use your best judgement at all times.”
Deadly force was recently used by a Marlborough Police officer in the Monday night shooting of Bryce Coutinho. Police are taught a number of factors to run through during their judgement call when it comes to using force, said Harris.
“There are certain requirements that a law enforcement officer has to weigh before any force, including deadly force, is used," he said.
- Whether there is an imminent threat of serious bodily harm to the officer or others.
- The severity of the crime at issue, such as an assault or weapon being used.
- The intensity and uncertainty of the situation.
- Attempts to evade seizure.
The next part of the judgement call includes the level of force brought to bear.
“In the academy, officers are taught not to draw their weapons unless there isa distinct possibility they’ll have to use them,” said Harris. “Police aren’t trained to shoot and wound.”
Police make these judgement calls knowing that they will be examined later, he said.
“Every time there is an officer involved shooting it is followed by an internal investigation by a police department and an investigation by a district attorney,” said Harris.