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Use of Force Options

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 53 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2005 Pages: 88-92
David Standen
Date Published
August 2005
5 pages
This article discusses the appropriate police use of the following less-lethal use-of-force options: OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray, baton, taser, and "hands-on" control skills.
OC is not a control and restraint technique. A subject who has been sprayed must still be controlled and then handcuffed. OC spray is only useful in temporarily distracting the subject long enough for control and handcuffing to be achieved. The baton's roll in the arrest process must be expanded. Its usefulness is limited when it is used only as a swinging, striking implement against a subject standing 3 to 4 feet away from the officer. Officers must be trained in how and where to strike a subject to achieve compliance by and control of the subject for an arrest. There must also be a clear understanding about when each baton skill can be used and at what distance from the subject. The taser is an incapacitating tool. As with the OC spray and the baton, the taser is a tool for achieving control of a subject for the purpose of making an arrest. Officers should be trained not only in aiming and firing the taser, but also in how to control and handcuff the subject as soon as possible after the taser has been fired, so additional taser firings are not necessary. There are times when an officer's own hands are the most appropriate and effective means of controlling and arresting a resistant subject. "Hands-on" training should be part of all force-related training. As with the use of other force options, its effectiveness is measured by control of the subject in making an arrest. Proper training in all of the use-of-force tools should indicate how and when they are to be used to affect an arrest.