By LANA CLIFTON
“Use of Force” was the subject of the second session of the Bryant Police Department’s 2009 Citizen’s Police Academy. The class was held Tuesday, Sept. 29, at the Police Station on Roya Lane.
Saline County Prosecutor Ken Casady was the guest speaker of the evening. He spoke to the academy attendees about the office of the prosecutor and the role it plays in cases in which use of force is a factor.
“Use of force and decisions around use of force are dependent upon the prosecutor’s office,” said Casady.
To questions of when use of force is allowable, Casady said there is no black and white answer.
“The law is whatever is reasonable under the circumstances,” explained Casady.[more]
During the second half of the class, Sgt. Jenceson Payte gave a detailed description of guidelines officers follow when making decisions about how much, if any, force should be used in a given situation.
Payte stressed that officers want to use the minimum amount of force required. Each level of resistance by a suspect requires a different level of control from an officer. In each case, an officer must decide to meet the level of resistance with the appropriate amount of force for the situation.
Payte showed several videos of actual encounters between officers and suspects and explained the different levels of resistance.
Payte explained that, as part of the executive branch of government, police don’t have the right to punish; instead, the judicial branch takes care of punishment in court. He said what police officers do have a right to do is protect themselves and innocent citizens.
Payte cited court cases that had been instrumental in setting the parameters for police officers to follow when making decisions on how much force is allowable under the law.