Non-Deadly Use of Force


Consistent with our Mission and Core Values, the Village of Walworth Police Department is committed to valuing and preserving human life. The protection and preservation of all human life – including the lives of individuals being taken into custody – is the Department’s fundamental objective and the primary duty of all WPD employees.

The Department is committed to resolving conflicts through the use of communication skills, crisis intervention and de-escalation tactics, when feasible. Officers may only use that force which is objectively reasonable, and only in furtherance of a legitimate, lawful objective. “Objective reasonableness” is a test based on the totality of the circumstances. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989). Officers will only apply force in a manner consistent with WPD’s Code of Conduct, SOP, and training.

As used in this SOP, non-deadly force means the use of any weapon or instrument, or any physical action taken by an officer which is not likely to cause death.



Non-deadly force is only authorized when an officer reasonably believes it is necessary to control a person under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Detaining a person reasonably suspected of unlawful behavior.
  2. Effecting a lawful arrest.
  3. Achieving/maintaining control of resistive subjects.
  4. Preventing escape.
  5. Protecting oneself or another.
  6. Maintaining order.
  7. Taking a person into custody for emergency detention or protective custody.


Officers shall use the degree of force believed to be objectively reasonable to control a situation considering the following factors:

  1.     The existence of alternative methods of control.
  2.     Physical size, strength and weaponry of the person as compared to the officer.
  3.     The nature of the encounter.
  4.     Actions of the person.
  5.     The severity of the offense.
  6.     Whether the subject poses a threat to the safety of officers or citizens.
  7.     Whether the subject is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.


Depending on the situation, there are a number of special circumstances officers may consider when engaging in and evaluating reasonable uses of force. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  1.     Reasonable perception of threat.
  2.     Special knowledge of the subject.
  3.     Sudden assault.
  4.     Subject’s ability to escalate force rapidly.
  5.     Officer’s physical positioning.
  6.     Injury or exhaustion.
  7.     Equipment and training.
  8.     Availability of backup.
  9.     Other exigent circumstances.

Control of a person through presence and verbal commands shall always be the preferred method of control. Because verbal commands are not always effective or appropriate in gaining compliance, officers may escalate the degree of force used, or make an affirmative decision to disengage, based on the actions of the person they are attempting to control. Officers will continually evaluate/assess the situation and need for the use of force. Once officers reasonably believe a person is under control, they must reduce their level of force to that needed to maintain such control, and then begin steps to render aid, when applicable.

The degree of force an officer chooses should be based on his/her tactical evaluation and threat assessment of the situation. Based upon the totality of the circumstances known at the time, and in light of the officer’s training and experience, the officer should choose a tactic/procedure that is objectively reasonable and is consistent with one of the following:

  1.     The tactic/procedure utilized is a trained technique.
  2.     The tactic/procedure is a dynamic application of a trained technique.
  3.     The tactic/procedure not trained, but justifiable under the circumstances 



Whenever safe and feasible, officers will attempt to utilize de-escalation tactics and techniques in a manner consistent with the De-Escalation SOP.



The intentional continued restriction of the carotid neck arteries is not a trained WPD technique and is therefore prohibited, unless deadly force is justified.



  1.     Officers may use O.C. spray when they reasonably believe they are facing active resistance, or its threat, from the subject. O.C. spray is not to be used against subjects who are offering only passive resistance.
  2.     Officers shall only direct O.C. spray in a manner as prescribed by the Chief of Police through WPD training.
  3.     O.C. spray shall not be used once an individual is subdued and under control.
  4.     If practical, the individual should be provided with an opportunity to eliminate the effects of the irritant by washing and flushing the affected areas with water.



  1.     An approved electronic control device (ECD) may only be utilized by officers that have successfully completed training in its use. Deployment and use of the electronic control devices will be in accordance with WPD training and procedure.
  2.     In cases where a subject is believed to be armed with a dangerous weapon, an ECD is not a substitute for deadly force. In such situations, an officer should not arm him or herself with an ECD unless another officer at the scene has the immediate ability to deliver deadly force, unless unique circumstances dictate otherwise. Officers armed with an ECD should continuously monitor and evaluate the ability of other officers present to deliver deadly force.
  3.     An officer may only display, present, or threaten to use an ECD if the officer reasonably believes that the potential for its authorized use exists. Furthermore, an officer may do so absent deadly force coverage if they reasonably believe the involved person is not armed with a dangerous weapon.
  4.     An ECD may only be used under the following circumstances:


  1.     To overcome violent or assaultive behavior or its threat when the officer reasonably believes that the subject poses an articulable threat of harm to an officer or to another person.
  2.     To control persons in order to prevent them from harming themselves or others.



  1.     Use of an ECD under the following circumstances is prohibited, unless exigent circumstances are present:


  1.     Against handcuffed subjects.
  2.     Against subjects fleeing on foot.
  3.     Against subjects in an elevated position where a fall is likely to result in significant injury.
  4.     Against subjects operating a motor vehicle.
  5.     Against small children.
  6.      Against a subject who is visibly pregnant or known to be pregnant.
  7.     Against elderly subjects.
  8.     From a moving vehicle


  1.     The ECD will not be used under the following circumstances:


  1.     For coercion or intimidation.
  2.     To escort or prod subjects.
  3.     To awaken unconscious or intoxicated subjects.
  4.     Against subjects who are offering only passive resistance.


  1.     ECD probes may not be intentionally fired at the face, head, neck or groin, unless the use of deadly force would be justified.
  2.     Multiple, extended or simultaneous ECD applications against a single individual are generally not recommended, and should be avoided unless the officer reasonably believes that the need to control the subject or unavailability of alternative force options outweighs the potential risk posed by multiple, extended or simultaneous applications.
  3.     Officers shall assess all subjects against whom an ECD has been deployed. The subject shall be evaluated by medical personnel if:


  1.     The subject requests medical treatment.
  2.     The subject displays an adverse reaction to the ECD deployment.
  3.     The subject has been exposed to more than one ECD simultaneously.
  4.     The subject has been exposed to three (3) or more ECD firing cycles; or one          continuous firing cycle of fifteen (15) seconds or more.


  1.    If the ECD probes have penetrated the skin in a sensitive area (head, neck, groin or breast) the subject will be conveyed to an emergency room for removal. If the probes are embedded in non-sensitive areas, a trained officer may remove them.
  2.   Removing the air cartridge to deploy an ECD in the drive-stun mode is not authorized as a primary ECD deployment technique.



  1.     A baton may be used when an officer reasonably believes a lesser degree of force would be insufficient to control the situation.
  2.     An officer shall never intentionally strike a person's head with a baton unless such an action is justified under the use of deadly force.
  3.     Officers shall only use WPD-approved batons and techniques.
  4.     WPD-approved batons are the only authorized impact weapons. Flashlights, radios, firearms, etc., are not recommended as impact weapons; however, the WPD recognizes that emergency self-defense situations involving other objects and instruments may occur.


  1.     Officers shall place handcuffs on any individual in custody when the officer reasonably believes the individual may become violent, attempt to escape, or pose a danger to self or others. It is mandatory that all persons who have aggressively resisted or attacked another person be placed in handcuffs.
  2.     Officers shall apply handcuffs in a manner prescribed by through training.
  3.     When handcuffs prove to be insufficient in restraining an individual (e.g., kicking, attempting to flee, etc.), officers may employ the use of additional WPD-approved restraining devices.
  4.     In an emergency situation when a WPD-approved restraining device is not available, the WPD recognizes that alternative devices may have to be employed. In such situations, approved devices should be substituted as soon as reasonably practicable.
  5.     Individuals who are placed in a maximum restraint position should be continuously monitored for breathing and circulation.


  1.     A spit hood is a temporary protective device, which may be used on persons that display behavior or threatening behavior that pose a hazard of exposure to bodily fluids transmitted by spitting, wiping blood from their face/head, or wiping/blowing nasal discharges at or onto officers.
  2.     Officers should use only WPD-approved spit hoods. In an emergency situation if not readily available, officers may utilize other breathable items, such as a surgical masks, etc.
  3.     Subjects must be stabilized and restrained (handcuffed) before applying the hood.
  4.     Officers shall apply the spit hood in accordance with WPD training.
  5.     Persons wearing the spit hood must be closely monitored and shall not be left unattended.
  6.     Officers shall document the use of the spit hood including the circumstances requiring its use in their report of the incident.



Any use of force by a member of this department shall be documented promptly, completely and accurately in a Walworth Police Department Officer Use of Force Report, in addition to an incident report. The officer should articulate the factors perceived and why he/she believed the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances. The following circumstances require an officer to complete a Walworth Police Department Use of Force Report:

  1.     Firearms (including pointing a firearm at an individual)
  2.     Baton or Less Lethal Impact Munitions
  3.     Chemical Agents, including OC spray, or Electronic Control Devices
  4.     Handcuffs or Other Restraining Devices, including hobble restraints, spit hoods, etc.
  5.     Physical force, including focused and diffused strikes, pressure points, escort holds, decentralization techniques, holding or grabbing of subjects, etc. The report shall specifically note the totality of the circumstances necessitating force and the manner of force employed.

In the event any of the Use of Force tactics performed by an officer listed above result in the death of a subject, the serious bodily injury of a subject, or if an officer discharges their firearm at or in the direction of a subject, whether the rounds strike the subject or not, the officer must complete the Use of Force and Arrest-Related Death (UFAD) form in TraCS. This form will be completed in addition to the Walworth Police Department Use of Force Report, and incident report.

To collect data for purposes of training, resource allocation, analysis and related purposes, the Department may require the completion of additional report forms.


Any officer present and observing another officer using excessive force, or engaged in unlawful conduct, or in violation of the Village of Walworth Police Department’s Code of Conduct has an affirmative obligation to intercede and report.


Once the scene is safe and as soon as practical, an officer shall provide appropriate medical care consistent with his or her training to any individual who has visible injuries, complains of being injured, or requests medical attention. Any time recordable force (takedowns, active countermeasures, OC spray, impact weapons, hobble restraints, less lethal projectiles, ECD deployments, K9 apprehensions) is used, officers will affirmatively ask the subject against whom the force has been used if he/she wants medical treatment.


Prior to confinement or release, medical assistance shall be obtained for any person who exhibits signs of physical distress, who has sustained visible injury, expresses a complaint of injury or continuing pain, or who was rendered unconscious. Any individual exhibiting signs of physical distress after an encounter should be continuously monitored until he/she can be medically assessed.

Based upon the officer’s initial assessment of the nature and extent of the subject’s injuries, medical assistance may consist of examination by fire/rescue personnel, paramedics, hospital staff or medical staff at the jail. If any such individual refuses medical attention, such a refusal shall be fully documented in related reports and, whenever practicable, should be witnessed by another officer if possible and/or medical personnel. If a recording is made of the contact or an interview with the individual, any refusal should be included in the recording, if possible.

The primary handling officer shall ensure that any person providing medical care or receiving custody of a person following any use of force is informed that the person was subjected to force. This notification shall include a description of the force used and any other circumstances the officer reasonably believes would be potential safety or medical risks to the subject (e.g., prolonged struggle, extreme agitation, impaired respiration).

Persons who exhibit extreme agitation, violent irrational behavior accompanied by profuse sweating, extraordinary strength beyond their physical characteristics and imperviousness to pain (sometimes called “excited delirium”), or who require a protracted physical encounter with multiple officers to be brought under control, may be at an increased risk of sudden death. Calls involving these persons should be considered medical emergencies and officers should request medical assistance as soon as practicable.


All instances of the use of non-deadly force shall be reviewed for compliance with WPD procedure by an appropriate supervisor.

In cases where a complaint is filed pertaining to an officer’s use of non-deadly force, the Lieutenant has the primary responsibility for coordinating the internal investigation to ensure compliance with the WPD Use of Non-Deadly Force SOP.

If necessary, as part of the Lieutenant’s internal investigation, Arrest Tactics (DAAT) instructors can be consulted to determine findings.


This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) shall be made available to the public at no charge upon request (Wis. Stat. §66.0511(2)).


This Policy & Procedure cancels and supersedes any and all previous written directives relative to the subject matter contained herein.