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RM-9 Use of Force Manual, National Park Service, 2009

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1.	
2.	
3.	
4.	
5.	

Introduction
Definitions
Use of Force Policy
Use of Intermediate Defensive Equipment
Reporting, Supervisory Review, and Investigation

1.	

INTRODUCTION

	

Commissioned law enforcement personnel are authorized to use a wide
variety of defensive equipment and force options in response to various
threats and other enforcement situations. These options are provided in order
to permit commissioned officers to select the defensive equipment or tactics
that are most appropriate for the circumstances. The ability to transition from
one type of force to another and stop the use of force is critical.

2.	

DEFINITIONS

	

The following definitions apply to this chapter:

2.1	

Deadly Force

	

Deadly force is the use of any force (with or without firearms) that is likely
to cause death or serious physical injury. Deadly force does not include force
that is not likely to cause death or serious physical injury but unexpectedly
results in such death or injury.

2.2	

Display

	

The term “display” means the removal of a weapon from its holster, case,
locking mount or other normally stored location or position in anticipation of
its use in a potential conflict.

2.3	

Physical Control Techniques

	

Physical Control Techniques include methods such as come-alongs, touch
pressure points, personal weapons (hands, feet, etc.) and the application of
restraints.

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CHAPTER 10 – USE OF FORCE

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RM-9 LAW ENFORCEMENT REFERENCE MANUAL

2.4	

Intermediate Weapons

	

Intermediate weapons are weapons that are approved by the NPS that are
intended to be unlikely to kill, or to cause great bodily harm. This includes
firearms with less-lethal munitions.

2.5	

Objective Reasonableness

	

For purposes of this chapter, these terms refer to the facts and circumstances,
including the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, known to a
commissioned employee at the time of the use of deadly or other force that
would cause a reasonable officer to conclude that the use of force used by
the ranger was reasonable based on the totality of circumstances known to
the ranger at the point in time the force was used. The reasonableness of a
belief or decision must be viewed from the perspective of the commissioned
officer on the scene, who may often be forced to make split-second decisions
in circumstances that are tense, unpredictable, and rapidly evolving. In the
context of this section, reasonableness will not be viewed from the calm
vantage point of hindsight.

2.6	

Use of Force

	

For purposes of this chapter the term “use of force” is intended to address the
physical application of force as opposed to mere officer presence or verbal
commands. The use of force may range from physical controls through
intermediate/less-lethal weapons, to deadly force.

	

All incidents involving the intentional discharge of a firearm by commissioned
employees, either on-duty or off-duty are considered use of force, with the
following exceptions:

	

●	

Training where no injury occurs.

●	

Authorized destruction of animals or other resource management
activities.

●	

Legal recreational activities, such as hunting or sport shooting,
where there is no human injury involved.

All incidents involving the unintentional discharge of a firearm (either onduty or off-duty) are considered use of force.

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3.	

USE OF FORCE POLICY

3.1	

Primary Consideration

	

The primary consideration in the use of force for commissioned employees is
the timely and effective application of an objectively reasonable level of force
required to establish and maintain lawful control. Commissioned employees
may only use that force which is objectively reasonable in the performance
of their duties, based upon the totality of the circumstances confronting them
at the time of the incident.

3.2	

Use of Force Other Than Deadly Force

	

If force other than deadly force appears to be sufficient to accomplish an arrest
or otherwise accomplish the law enforcement purpose, that is the preferred
level of force.

	

Justifications for the use of less-lethal defensive equipment are:
●	

to defend self;

●	

to defend others;

●	

to effect an arrest or investigatory “Terry” stop when lesser force is
or would be insufficient;

●	

to restrain or control violent, threatening or resistive behavior; or

●	

to disperse an unlawful group.

3.3	

Use of Deadly Force

	

Commissioned employees may use deadly force only when necessary, that is,
when the employee has an objectively reasonable belief, in light of the facts
and circumstances confronting the employee, that the subject of such force
poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the employee
or to another person.

3.4	

Fleeing Subject

	

Deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of a fleeing subject if there is
probable cause to believe:
●	

The subject has committed a crime involving the infliction or
threatened infliction of serious physical injury or death;
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Law Enforcement Operations – Ch. 10

CHAPTER 10 – USE OF FORCE

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and

●	

The escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or
serious physical injury to the commissioned employee or to another
person.

3.5	

Verbal Warnings

	

If feasible and if to do so would not increase the danger to the commissioned
employee or others, a verbal warning to submit to the authority of the
employee should be given prior to the use of deadly force.

3.6	

Warning Shots

	

Warning shots are not permitted.

3.7	

Vehicles

	

Firing at or from a moving vehicle is prohibited except in self-defense or in
defense of others.

	

Weapons may be fired at the driver or other occupant of a moving vehicle
only when:
●	

The commissioned employee has a reasonable belief that the subject
poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the
commissioned employee or to another person;

	

and

●	

The public safety benefits of using such force outweigh the risks to
the safety of the commissioned employee or other persons.

	

Weapons may not be fired solely to disable moving vehicles.

4.	

USE OF INTERMEDIATE DEFENSIVE EQUIPMENT

4.1	

Impact Defensive Equipment

	

Commissioned employees will avoid delivering a blow to the head or face
with a baton or other impact weapon, except where the use of deadly force is
necessary.

4.2	

Chemical Agents

	

The following procedures will be followed:
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CHAPTER 10 – USE OF FORCE

Ensure chemical agent dispenser is stored and safeguarded in a
manner that prevents misuse or tampering.

●	

Attempt to spray Oleoresin Capsicum (pepper spray) directly into
the person’s face from a suitable control distance.

●	

Once the situation is controlled and it is safe to do so,
begin decontamination process according to manufacturer
recommendations.

The following situations should be avoided when possible:
●	

Discharging a chemical agent directly into the eyes or face of a
subject at close range (less than two feet).

●	

Discharging an unnecessary or excessive amount of chemical agent
into a confined space, such as a small room or closed automobile.

●	

Discharging a chemical agent in the immediate vicinity of an
infant.

5.	

REPORTING, SUPERVISORY REVIEW, AND INVESTIGATION

5.1	

Reporting Requirement

	

All incidents involving the use of force and the display of weapons must
be reported. Any use of force that results in serious injury or death must be
reported immediately to a commissioned supervisor. These incidents are to
be managed as specified in Chapter 11. Other uses of force or weapon display
must be reported within 24 hours.

5.2	

Supervisory Review Requirement

	

All use of force incidents will undergo supervisory review and be referred
to investigation when appropriate. Investigations are required when use of
force causes injuries requiring professional medical care (other than removal
of ECD probes), allegations of excessive force, and the application of deadly
force.

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Law Enforcement Operations – Ch. 10

	

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1.	
2.	
3.	
4.	

Purpose
Definitions
Policy
Standards

1.	

PURPOSE

	

This chapter establishes NPS policy concerning use of Electronic Control
Devices (ECD) by commissioned employees. Any SOPs or policies
developed to meet local needs must be in compliance with this chapter and
relevant DOI policies, and must be furnished to the DCOP for approval prior
to implementation.

	

When a park or other work unit establishes an ECD program, it is the
responsibility of the Senior Law Enforcement Officer to notify the DCOP
with the name of the commissioned employee who is overseeing the program,
the type and number of ECDs being used, the number of instructors and the
number of trained users. These statistics should be updated at least annually
on the NPS-LETC training web site.

	

The Deputy Chief, Division of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency
Services will have final authority in approving or denying any ECD
program.

2.	

DEFINITIONS

	

For the purpose of this chapter, the terms below are defined as follows:

2.1	

Electronic Control Device (ECD)

	

A handheld conducted energy device designed to transmit a disruptive
electrical impulse to a target.

2.2	

Probes/Darts

	

Projectiles fired from an ECD in order to transmit an electrical impulse to a
target.

Law Enforcement Equipment – Ch. 32

CHAPTER 32 – ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE (ECD)
PROGRAMS

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3.	

POLICY

	

Electronic Control Devices are approved for use according to this policy, and
will be used in compliance with the agency use of force policy.

	

The ECD is an intermediate weapon that may be appropriate for use in some
situations. It is NOT a substitute for deadly force. Commissioned employees
must assess the effectiveness of each application and determine whether
further applications are warranted or a different tactic should be employed.

4.	

STANDARDS

	

This section sets forth minimum standards for use of ECDs.

4.1	

General Conditions

	

Only commissioned employees will be authorized to carry ECDs for law
enforcement purposes.

	

Only ECDs issued or otherwise approved by the NPS will be used by
commissioned employees in the performance of their duties. The approved
ECDs are the Taser International models M-26 and X-26. Future purchases
are restricted to the X-26. As technology develops, future devices may be
approved by the DCOP.

	

All ECDs will be entered into the NPS Property Management Division
property database and will be issued a bar code property number.

4.2	

ECD Use Parameters

	

When such force is legally justified and consistent with Department policy,
ECDs may be used on individuals who are actively resisting a commissioned
employee or to prevent individuals from harming themselves or others.

	

When such force is legally justified and consistent with Department policy,
ECDs may be used on animals if they pose an imminent danger to the LEO
or others.

	

Unless compelling reasons to do so can be clearly articulated, ECDs will not
be used when:
●	

a subject exhibits passive resistance to a LEO;

●	

the LEO believes the use of deadly force is necessary pursuant to
NPS and DOI policy, or
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●	

the LEO perceives use of an ECD may result in direct or secondary
injuries. To include when:
○	

a subject may fall from a significant height;

○	

a subject is operating a moving vehicle or machinery;

○	

a subject is in or near a body of water which presents a risk of
drowning; or

○	

a subject is believed to be contaminated by or otherwise near
flammable or explosive materials.

	

When a subject is believed to be part of a high risk group (e.g., the very
young, the very old, the infirm, pregnant females, etc.) the commissioned
employee should evaluate other options if possible and provide follow-up
medical attention.

	

All ECD use will be consistent with agency-approved or recognized ECD
training curricula, as determined by the Superintendent, NPS-LETC.

	

A non-contact demonstration of the ability to discharge electricity (i.e.,
a ‘Spark Display’) may be used with verbal commands to attempt to gain
compliance to a lawful command without the ECD being deployed in either
the Drive Stun (direct contact) or Dart mode. A spark display is conducted
only when the cartridge has been removed from the ECD.

	

The device may be used in a “drive stun” mode. Use of the “drive stun”
mode is subject to the same restrictions as that of the ECD in cartridge
deployments.

4.3	

ECD Post-Deployment Procedures

	

As applicable, the following procedures will be implemented subsequent to
an ECD deployment.
●	

If a commissioned employee reasonably believes that the recipient
of an ECD application is in need of medical treatment the employee
will make reasonable efforts to obtain such treatment.

●	

Accompanied by a commissioned employee, the following subjects
will be entered into the emergency medical services (EMS) system
for medical care when subjects exhibit the following conditions:
○	

Law Enforcement Equipment – Ch. 32

CHAPTER 32 – ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE (ECD) PROGRAMS

ECD probe embedded in face, neck, joints, groin, or female
breast;
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○	

High risk subjects such as the very young, the very old, the
infirm, visibly pregnant females, etc.

○	

Subjects who display signs of distress, hyperthermia, loss of
consciousness, difficulty breathing, chest pain or other severe
symptom.

○	

Subjects who received three or more ECD impulse cycles.

●	

ECD probes embedded in non-sensitive areas may be removed
by a commissioned employee according to procedures outlined in
training. Universal precautions for infection control will be followed
and probes will be treated as biohazard sharps.

●	

When practical and appropriate, photographs of ECD probe impact
sites should be taken before and after probe removal.

●	

Probes and their expended cartridge will be placed into evidence.
This evidence will be labeled a “bio-hazard.” Generally, probes
will be placed backwards into the expended cartridge or a sharps
container to provide protection from the probes, and placed into a
marked evidence bag.

●	

A use history report will be downloaded from the deployed ECD(s)
as soon as practical.

●	

When an NPS Law enforcement officer deploys an ECD outside
of NPS jurisdiction, the officer MAY follow the post deployment
policy of the primary agency.

4.4	

ECD Certification and Training

	

Prior to carrying or utilizing an ECD, commissioned employees will
successfully complete the NPS ECD certification course approved by the
Superintendent, NPS-LETC.

	

All commissioned employees certified to use an ECD will receive recertification training annually, as determined by the Superintendent, NPSLETC.

	

All ECD certification training will be conducted by instructors certified by
the Superintendent, NPS-LETC.

	

ECD certification and training records will be maintained according to RM‑9,
Chapter 7.
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ECD certification and re-certification training curricula will include the
following:
●	

ECD fundamentals (e.g., system terminology, functional principals,
etc.);

●	

ECD handling and use (e.g., equipment care and inspection, function
testing, carry methods, deployment, subject target areas, etc.);

●	

ECD physiological effects (e.g., recognition of high risk groups,
deployment scenarios, etc.);

●	

ECD post-deployment procedures (e.g., probe removal, medical
treatment, evidence collection, etc.);

●	

ECD reporting requirements

●	

ECD use policies

●	

A review of use of force policy and court cases relevant to ECD use,
and

●	

Proficiency testing.

	

Commissioned employees will not receive an ECD application as part of
training curricula except when required for certification.

4.5	

ECD Inspection
	

Law Enforcement Equipment – Ch. 32

CHAPTER 32 – ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE (ECD) PROGRAMS

ECDs should be inspected for damage by a park-designated coordinator and
will be downloaded from their data port quarterly. Data port records will be
maintained for three years. ECDs that reveal signs of damage will be returned
to the manufacturer for service. Damaged cartridges should be replaced.
Batteries should be kept on hand for replacement.
Reporting Requirements

4.6	
	

Parks and other work units will document and maintain the following:
●	

a record of all ECDs and ECD cartridges issued, to include serial
numbers and commissioned employee identifying information;

●	

a record of all ECD and ECD cartridge damage, repair, or loss;

●	

a record of all ECD certification and training, consistent with
Chapter 7 requirements;
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●	

a record of all ECD inspections; and

●	

a record of all unintentional ECD deployments;

In addition to standard “use of force” and/or incident reporting requirements,
parks and other work units will:
(a)	 download and maintain device-specific use history reports for all
ECD deployments, excluding those associated with authorized
training and demonstrations.
(b)	 report “use of force” deployment of an ECD to the DCOP or
designee as well as in accordance with the requirements outlined
in RM-9 and Departmental Manual, 446 DM 68, “Serious Incident
Reporting.” All deployments, other than training use (e.g.,
unintentional discharges, deployments to suspects, visual displays
and spark displays), will be reported to the DCOP Office within 72
hours using the NPS ECD Deployment Form found at the NPS Law
Enforcement Training Center website at http://inside.nps.gov/waso/
custommenu.cfm?lv=3&prg=801&id=7757.
Chemical Agents

4.7	
	

Work units with ECD programs will ensure that the chemical sprays that are
also carried in the work unit are non-flammable and ECD compatible.
Weapon Readiness

4.8	
	

ECDs will be carried in holsters specifically designed for ECDs. Uniformed
commissioned employees will carry the ECD on the duty belt. All ECDs
will be carried on the side opposite the duty firearm; cross-draw position is
optional.

	

The ECD will be carried with an inserted cartridge, power source in place,
with the safety on. The strength of the power source will be checked at the
beginning of each shift. The power source will be replenished when it falls
below 20% remaining power. Manufacturer recommendations for long-term
storage of the ECD will be followed. ECDs will not be stored in a vehicle
except temporarily when secure storage in a building is unavailable.

	

A spark test will be conducted at the beginning of each shift. The spark test
will be conducted in the following manner:
●	

All cartridges will be removed from the weapon, including the
primary cartridge and any reserve cartridges, and inspected.

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●	

The cartridges will be placed on a table or other flat surface, blast
door down.

●	

The user will conduct the test aimed in at the cartridges, ensuring a
safe background, and at least 12 inches away to avoid activating the
cartridge.

	

Commissioned employees approved to use the device shall be issued a
minimum of one spare cartridge to be carried as a back-up. The spare
cartridges shall be carried in a manner consistent with training in either the
optional weapon grip battery retainer or on the duty belt in a holster device
designed to carry extra cartridges. Cartridges shall be replaced consistent
with the manufacturer’s expiration requirements.

	

Only battery power sources recommended by the manufacturer shall be used
in the ECD.

Law Enforcement Equipment – Ch. 32

CHAPTER 32 – ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE (ECD) PROGRAMS

Non-ECD-Carrying Commissioned Employees

4.9	
	

4.10	
	

When a park or other work unit employs the use of ECDs and not all
commissioned staff are outfitted or fully trained in the use of an ECD, all nontrained and/or outfitted commissioned employees (permanent and seasonal)
shall receive awareness and familiarization training on the use and effects of
the ECD, to the standards of the Superintendent, NPS-LETC.
Flying with an ECD on a Commercial Airline Carrier
A commissioned employee may carry an agency-issued ECD onboard a
commercial aircraft if that employee is flying armed, and is in compliance
with TSA and DOI flying armed policy directives.

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NPS ECD USE REPORT
Date/Time:		
Park:	

Deploying Ranger’s Name:
Supervisor:	

Case Incident #

□ TASER X26 □ ADVANCE TASER M26
□ 21-ft Standard □ 25-ft XP □ 15-ft □ 35-ft XP

ECD Model (check one):
Air Cartridge Type(s):
Incident Type:	
Charges Files:	

If OTHER Please Specify:
Arrested:

□ Human □ Animal	
Suspect: Age
Sex
Height
Build
Location of Incident: □ Indoor □ Outdoor □ Jail □ Hospital
Type of Force Used (Check all that apply): □ Physical □ Baton □ Impact Munition □ Chemical □ Firearm
Type of Suspect:

Nature of the Injuries and Medical Treatment Required for Suspect:
Admitted to Hospital for Injuries:		
Medical Exam:	

Admitted to Hospital for Psychiatric:

        Suspect Under the influence:	 Alcohol / Drugs (specify):

Was an officer/law enforcement employee injured during the incident?              If YES please list injuries:
Incident Type:	

If OTHER Please Specify:

ECD use:
Number of Air Cartridges fired:	

             Number of cycles applied:

Did probes penetrate suspect’s skin?             Suspect’s Clothing:
If neither probe or only one probe penetrated the suspect’s skin did the ECD still work:
Usage (check all that apply):

□ Arc Display □ Laser Display □ ECD Application □ Display of ECD

ECD: Is this a dart probe contact:

Is this a drive stun contact:

Did ECD application cause injury:	

If yes, was the subject treated for the injury:

DESCRIPTION OF INJURY:
SYNOPSIS OF EVENT/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Need for additional applications?	               Did the device respond satisfactorily?
If the ECD deployment was unsuccessful was a DRIVE STUN followup used?
Photographs Taken:

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APPLICATION AREAS
(Place “X’s” where probes hit suspect AND “O’s” where stunned)

Law Enforcement Equipment – Ch. 32

CHAPTER 32 – ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE (ECD) PROGRAMS

Report Completed by:
__________________________________
	
Signature and Date

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