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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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1010.00, Use of Force

1010.00 Use of Force

Refer:

  • Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989)
  • ORS 161.015, General Definitions
  • ORS 161.195, “Justification” described
  • ORS 161.205, Use of physical force generally
  • ORS 181A.708, Use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles and sound devices
  • DIR 0305.00, Active Bystandership, Intervention, and Anti-Retaliation
  • DIR 0315.30, Satisfactory Performance
  • DIR 0330.00, Internal Affairs, Complaint Intake and Processing
  • DIR 0333.00, Criminal Investigations of Police Bureau Employees
  • DIR 0345.00, Employee Information System
  • DIR 0416.00, Critical Incident - Temporary Altered Duty
  • DIR 0630.05, Vehicle Interventions and Pursuits
  • DIR 0630.45, Emergency Medical Custody Transports
  • DIR 0630.50, Emergency Medical Aid
  • DIR 0631.70, Investigation of Animal Problems
  • DIR 0635.10, Crowd Management/Crowd Control
  • DIR 0640.02, Photography and Digital Imaging
  • DIR 0850.20, Mental Health Crisis Response
  • DIR 0900.00, General Reporting Guidelines
  • DIR 0910.00, Use of Force Reporting, Review, and Investigation
  • DIR 1010.10, Deadly Force and In-Custody Death Reporting and Investigation Procedures
  • DIR 1015.00, Less Lethal Weapons and Tools
  • DIR 1020.00, Weapons Administration
  • DIR 1021.00, Weapons Qualifications
  • PPB Canine Unit Standard Operating Procedures

Definitions:

  • Boxing In: A coordinated tactic of making contact between police vehicles and a subject vehicle to stop or prevent the start of a pursuit.
    • Dynamic Box-In: A box-in performed on a vehicle that is in motion.
    • Static Box-In: A box-in performed on a vehicle that is not in motion, and that is not reasonably likely to cause physical injury or significant damage.
  • Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW): A weapon, including Tasers, designed primarily to discharge electrical charges into a person that will cause involuntary muscle contractions and overrides the person’s voluntary motor responses.
  • Constitutional Force Standard (Graham Standard): Under Graham v. Connor and subsequent cases, the federal courts have established that when determining whether to use force, members must balance the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights against the government’s interest.  When using force under this standard, members shall only use force necessary to accomplish a lawful objective, and the force must be objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.
  • Cover Fire: Member discharge of a firearm in a tactical situation in response to the ongoing threat of the use of deadly physical force by a person, when direct action against the person is not feasible. Cover fire is not intended to strike a person, but is meant only to prevent a person from taking further action against the police or others that could result in death or serious physical injury.
  • Crowd Management: A public security practice in which crowds are managed to prevent the outbreak of crowd rushes, affrays, fights or riots, or in which an assembly, protest or demonstration is dispersed.                                                
  • Deadly/Lethal Force: Any use of force likely to cause death or serious physical injury, including the use of a firearm, neck hold, or strike to the head, neck or throat with a hard object 
  • De-escalation: A deliberate attempt to prevent or reduce the amount of force necessary to safely and effectively resolve confrontations.
  • Feasible: When time and safety allow for a particular action.
  • Force: Physical coercion used to effect, influence, or persuade an individual to comply with an officer, to include the intentional pointing of a firearm at an individual. Control holds and handcuffing without resistance do not constitute force.
  • Immediate Cover: A member who stands ready to deploy additional control if needed (e.g., the CEW is ineffective or it fails to function properly).
  • Involved Member: For this directive, an involved member is a Bureau member who is involved in the application of force or directs another to use force.
  • Lawful Objective: Any reason for police action that is valid under the law. Examples include, but are not limited to: arresting, detaining, or searching a person; overcoming resistance or preventing escape; preventing the commission of a crime; defending self or others; preventing a person from self-harm; restricting access to an area in an emergency.
  • Less Lethal Force: Force employed that is neither likely nor intended to cause death or serious physical injury.
  • Less Lethal Weapon: An apprehension or restraint tool that, when used as designed and intended, is less likely to cause death or serious physical injury than a conventional lethal weapon such as a firearm.
  • Mental Health Crisis: An incident in which someone with an actual or perceived mental illness experiences intense feelings of personal distress (e.g., anxiety, depression, anger, fear, panic, hopelessness), a thought disorder (e.g., visual or auditory hallucinations, delusions, sensory impairment or cognitive impairment), obvious changes in functioning (e.g., neglect of personal hygiene) and/or catastrophic life events (e.g., disruptions in personal relationships, support systems or living arrangements; loss of autonomy or parental rights; victimization or natural disasters), which may, but not necessarily, result in an upward trajectory of intensity culminating in thoughts or acts that are dangerous to self and/or others.
  • Mental Illness: Health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning. Alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior contribute to a host of problems-patient distress, impaired functioning, or heightened risk of death, pain, disability, or loss of freedom.
  • Necessary: No objectively reasonable and effective alternative presently exists to effect a lawful objective.
  • Neck hold: When a member knowingly uses physical force that impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person. This also includes the carotid restraint hold or lateral vascular neck restraint. A neck hold shall be considered deadly (lethal) force.
  • Objectively Reasonable: The reasonableness of a use of force is based on the totality of circumstances known by an officer at the time of action or decision-making.  It shall be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, without the clarity of 20/20 hindsight after the event has concluded.  The measure of reasonableness gives consideration to the reality that officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.  In the application or evaluation of the use of force, uses of the terms “reasonable” and “reasonably” in this policy refer to objective reasonableness. All assertions of a member’s knowledge, intent, deliberateness, or inadvertence under this policy must be objectively reasonable and the Bureau shall assess all assertions under the objective reasonableness standard.
  • Physical Injury: As defined in ORS § 161.015 (7), the impairment of a person’s physical condition or causing a person substantial pain.  Substantial pain refers to degree and duration of the pain suffered by the victim; the pain must be considerable and must be more than momentary. 
  • Police Action: Any circumstance, on or off duty, in which a sworn member exercises or attempts to exercise police authority. This includes, but is not limited to, stops, searches, arrests, and use of force.
  • Procedural Justice: The idea of fairness in process, recognizing that a person’s perception of fairness is strongly impacted by the quality of their experiences and not only the end result of those experiences. 
  • Resistance: Opposition or obstruction directed towards an officer that impedes a lawful objective. Resistance may consist of the following:
    • Passive Resistance: Non-compliance or non-cooperation with an officer’s lawful order that is non-violent, and does not involve active conduct or pose an immediate threat to the officer or the public.
    • Active Resistance: A person’s physical attempt(s) to evade a member’s control or lawful order. 
  • Serious Physical Injury: As defined in ORS § 161.015(8), physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily organ.
  • Totality of the Circumstances: The facts and context of an incident known to the member at the time of the incident, including, but not limited to:
    • Graham Standard Factors (threat, severity of the offense, and active resistance or evading).
    • Whether the person is experiencing an actual or perceived mental health crisis.
    • Whether the person is impaired by drugs or alcohol, or otherwise incapacitated.
    • Number of officers and suspects.
    • Feasibility of using de-escalation techniques or non-force tactics.
    • Suspect possession of a weapon(s).
    • Availability of cover officers.
    • Environmental factors. 
  • Warning Shot: Discharge of a firearm for the purpose of compelling compliance from an individual, but not intended to cause physical injury.
  • Witness Member: For this directive, a witness member is a Bureau member who observes or has firsthand knowledge of the events surrounding another member’s use of force or a member’s direction to another to use force, and did not use force themselves.

Policy:

1. The Portland Police Bureau is committed to upholding the civil rights of all individuals, protecting human life and property, and maintaining civil order. This commitment includes ensuring the welfare of members of the public, and its officers and professional staff, with an emphasis on the sanctity of life and policing with respect.

2. The Bureau recognizes that members may need to use force in the performance of their duties. In these circumstances, the community expects and the Bureau requires that members use only the objectively reasonable force necessary based on the totality of the circumstances.  Members who violate these values by using objectively unreasonable force erode the confidence of the community and may expose themselves, those present, and the greater population to unnecessary danger; thus, objectively unreasonable uses of force shall result in corrective action and/or discipline, up to and including termination.

3. Members should recognize that their approach to an incident may escalate or de-escalate the situation or influence whether the use of force becomes necessary and the amount of force used.

4. While the ultimate objective of every law enforcement encounter is to protect the public, nothing in this policy requires a member expose themselves to possible physical injury before applying reasonable force.

5. Over the course of their careers, the Bureau expects members to develop and use skills and abilities that allow them to regularly resolve confrontations while minimizing the need to use force. Members are to be aware that this directive is more restrictive than state or federal laws.

6. The Bureau will train members in all categories of force and de-escalation techniques to help them safely and effectively resolve confrontations. However, the Bureau recognizes that each situation is unique and presents its own challenges, and expects members to adapt and apply Bureau training principles reasonably in unanticipated situations.

7. Members shall attempt to avoid or minimize the use of force against individuals in actual or perceived mental health crisis or those with mental illness and direct such individuals to the appropriate services, where possible.

8. This directive also applies to off-duty use of force when the member engages in police action.

Procedure:

1. De-escalation.

1.1.   Proactive De-escalation: Preventing the Need to Use Force.

1.1.1.      Members shall use de-escalation techniques, when feasible.

1.1.2.      De-escalation techniques provide members the opportunity to stabilize the scene or reduce the necessity for force so that more time, options and resources are available to resolve the situation.  Members shall take proactive steps to eliminate the immediacy of the threat, establish control, and minimize the need for force.

1.1.2.1.            De-escalation techniques include, but are not limited to:

1.1.2.1.1.                  Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health crisis or when a person is experiencing a condition that alters their perception or decision making, and adapting the member’s approach accordingly;

1.1.2.1.2.                  Using procedurally just techniques, such as verbal and/or non-verbal actions, to calm an agitated person and promote rational decision making;

1.1.2.1.3.                  Creating opportunities to talk to a person and give them voice;

1.1.2.1.4.                  Allowing the person appropriate time to respond to direction;  

1.1.2.1.5.                  Communicating with the person from a safe position using verbal persuasion, advisements, or warnings;

1.1.2.1.6.                  Decreasing exposure to a potential threat by using distance, cover, or concealment;

1.1.2.1.7.                  Placing barriers between an uncooperative person and an officer;

1.1.2.1.8.                  Ensuring there are an appropriate number of members on scene;

1.1.2.1.9.                  Containing a threat;

1.1.2.1.10.              Moving to a safer position; and

1.1.2.1.11.              Avoiding physical confrontation, unless immediately necessary.

1.1.2.2.            When practical and appropriate, members shall contact specialized units to respond to or assist with calls. Specialized units may assist with de-escalation, disengagement, mental health crisis response, tactics, negotiation, or otherwise safely resolving the incident.

1.1.2.3.            To avoid confusion, members shall establish and maintain one-on-one communication with the person and avoid giving simultaneous directions or having multiple members verbally engaging the person.

1.1.3.      Members shall consider a disengagement plan when the benefits to be gained by police intervention are clearly outweighed by the risks associated with the call.

1.2.   Reactive De-escalation: Reducing Force.

1.2.1.      Members shall reduce their force as they recognize, or should reasonably recognize, that a person’s resistance is decreasing. Members shall use only the amount of force reasonably calculated to establish or maintain control. This may include reducing the number of members who are using force.

1.3.   De-escalation does not always require members to delay reasonable action.  De-escalation is not a set of rigid rules.  Rather, de-escalation is a philosophy and skill to apply when feasible.

2. Authorized Use of Force.

2.1.   Constitutional Force Standard (Graham Standard): Force Performance Requirements.

2.1.1.      Members shall only use force necessary to accomplish a lawful objective, and the force must be objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.

2.1.2.      When determining whether to use force, members must balance the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights against the government’s interest. At a minimum, members shall consider the following three factors prior to using force:

2.1.2.1.            Threat. Whether the individual poses a threat to the safety of officers or others. The extent and immediacy of the threat are the most important determining factors when considering the need for and type of force that may be reasonable during an encounter.

2.1.2.2.            Severity. The severity of the crime at issue.

2.1.2.3.            Active Resistance or Evading. Whether the individual is actively resisting control or attempting to evade.

2.1.3.      A reasonableness inquiry is not limited to these factors, and the Bureau will evaluate a member’s use of force based on the totality of the circumstances and all policy requirements.

2.2.   Additional Member Considerations Before and During a Force Incident.

2.2.1.      When determining whether to use force, members shall consider, when feasible:

2.2.1.1.            All available information, including:

2.2.1.1.1.                  Observed behavior (e.g., perceived mental illness or mental health crisis);

2.2.1.1.2.                  Reports from other members or witnesses;

2.2.1.1.3.                  Known mental health history; and

2.2.1.2.            Whether the person’s lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist or is affected by an inability to comply based on factors including, but not limited to:

2.2.1.2.1.                  Medical conditions; 

2.2.1.2.2.                  Cognitive impairment;

2.2.1.2.3.                  Developmental or physical limitation; 

2.2.1.2.4.                  Language barrier;

2.2.1.2.5.                  Drug or alcohol impairment; or 

2.2.1.2.6.                  Mental health crisis.

2.2.2.      When a member reasonably believes that another person is about to attempt suicide or inflict serious physical self-injury, the member may use force on the person to the extent that the member reasonably believes it necessary to prevent the result.

2.3.   Member Responsibilities Regarding Force Use.

2.3.1.      Members shall not create a need to use force by placing themselves or others in jeopardy, without substantial justification for not following recommended practices.

2.3.2.      Members shall refrain from using force against individuals who are handcuffed, otherwise restrained, or already under control by officers, unless doing so is necessary to prevent the individual from causing physical injury to themselves or others.

2.3.3.      Members must justify each application of force. When feasible, members shall re-evaluate the need for continued force in between application of force.

2.3.4.      When a member uses force, they shall reduce the amount of force they use as the person’s resistance decreases.

2.3.5.      When a member uses force, they should be supported by at least one member capable of providing immediate cover, if feasible.

2.3.6.      When feasible, members shall allow persons time to submit to arrest before they use force.

3. Duty to Intervene.

3.1.   Members shall intervene to prevent or stop another member from using force the intervening member knows or reasonably should know is unlawful or out-of-policy force, unless the intervening member cannot intervene safely.

4. Prohibited Use of Force.

4.1.   Members shall not use force against people who engage in passive resistance that does not impede a lawful objective.

4.2.   Members shall not use force against individuals who express verbal discontent with officers, but do not otherwise pose a threat to officers or others, or impede a lawful objective. 

4.3.   Under no circumstances will a member use force solely because another member is using force.

5. Warnings.

5.1.   When feasible, members shall issue a clear and intelligible verbal warning, before using any force.

5.1.1.      Members should be mindful that there may be a language barrier or the individual may be d/Deaf or hard of hearing. In these circumstances, members shall attempt to identify other means by which they can issue a warning, if feasible.

5.1.2.      Members shall provide a description of the warning given in their use of force reports. 

5.1.3.      If the member does not issue a warning, they shall provide a justification for the lack of warning in their use of force report.

5.1.3.1.            No written justification is necessary for vehicle intervention techniques or Category IV force.

5.2.   When feasible, members shall announce to other members their intent to use a less lethal weapon before using the weapon, in an attempt to avoid sympathetic fire.

6. Less Lethal Force.

6.1.   Less lethal force tactics provide members a range of options, from the use of bodily force to the use of less lethal weapons, for managing encounters with threatening or actively resistive persons. Although less lethal force is not likely to cause death or serious injury, members shall consider that the use of less lethal force can still result in death or serious injury.

6.2.   Restrictions.

6.2.1.      A person’s mere flight from an officer is not a sufficient reason for the use of a less lethal weapon.

6.2.2.      Members shall not use less lethal weapons on the following persons unless the person is armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon, or is about to attempt suicide, or is in the act of causing harm to themselves or others, or the member has probable cause that the person has committed a Measure 11 crime:

6.2.2.1.            Children who are known to be, or are obviously under the age of fifteen.

6.2.2.2.            An individual who is known to be, or is obviously pregnant.

6.2.2.3.            A person who is known to be, or is obviously medically fragile.

6.2.3.      Members shall refer to Directive 1015.00, Less Lethal Weapons, for additional guidance on the deployment of less lethal weapons.

7. Crowd Management Restrictions.

7.1.   This directive governs all force, including all force used during crowd management.  

7.2.      Members shall refer to Directive 0635.10, Crowd Management/Crowd Control, for additional requirements.

8. Police Vehicle Intervention Strategies.

8.1.   With the exception of static box-ins that do not result in an injury or complaint of injury, intentional contact between a police vehicle and another occupied vehicle shall constitute a use of force for the purposes of this policy, and require completion of use of force reports and After Action reviews. 

8.2.   Members shall refer to Directive 0630.05, Vehicle Interventions and Pursuits, for guidance on the authorized use of vehicle intervention strategies.

9. Deadly Force.

9.1.   Authorized Use of Deadly Force.

9.1.1.      Members may use deadly force to protect themselves or others from what they reasonably believe to be an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury; or,

9.1.2.      If necessary to prevent escape, a member may use deadly force where the member has probable cause to believe that the subject has committed a felony crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, and the member reasonably believes the subject poses an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to the member or others.

9.2.   When feasible, members shall issue a clear and intelligible verbal warning before using deadly force. 

9.3.   Additional Member Consideration When Using Deadly Force.

9.3.1.      Members should be mindful of the risks inherent in employing deadly force, which may endanger others. This directive and state law do not justify reckless or criminally negligent conduct by a member constituting an offense against or with respect to innocent persons whom the member is not seeking to arrest or retain in custody.

9.4.   Limitations and Restrictions on the Use of Deadly Force.

9.4.1.      Firearms.

9.4.1.1.            Members shall not fire warning shots.

9.4.1.2.            Members are authorized to use cover fire only if the member reasonably believes that an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury exists.

9.4.2.      Neck Holds.

9.4.2.1.            Members are prohibited from applying a neck hold, unless deadly force is authorized.

9.4.3.      Moving Vehicles.

9.4.3.1.            A moving vehicle may not always constitute a deadly threat. However, if a member reasonably believes the vehicle operator is targeting a pedestrian(s) or group of people, thereby creating an immediate risk of death or serious injury, the vehicle does constitute a deadly threat.

9.4.3.2.            Members shall not shoot at or from a moving vehicle unless they reasonably believe an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury exists. 

9.4.3.3.            Members shall consider whether the threat to the member or other persons (including all vehicle occupants) is increased by incapacitating the vehicle operator.  If the operator is incapacitated, the unguided vehicle may remain a threat to anyone in its path.  Members shall weigh the threat of incapacitating the driver against the threat posed by allowing the driver to maintain control of the vehicle.

9.4.3.3.1.                  Members shall also consider the challenges of target, backstop, stability, and aiming when deciding whether to use deadly force in this circumstance.

9.4.3.4.            Prohibitions.

9.4.3.4.1.                  Members shall not intentionally position themselves in the path of a moving vehicle or in a location that is clearly vulnerable to vehicular attack.

9.4.3.4.1.1.                        When feasible, members shall move out of the path of a vehicle, rather than discharging their firearm at the vehicle or its occupants.

9.4.3.4.2.                  Members shall not enter an occupied vehicle that is readily capable of being driven (i.e., engine running or keys in the ignition) without substantial justification.

10. Post-Force Medical Requirements.

10.1.  Members shall provide first aid and request emergency medical aid in accordance with Directive 0630.50, Emergency Medical Aid.

11. Force Reporting Requirements.

11.1.  Members shall refer to Directive 0910.00, Use of Force Reporting, Review, and Investigation, for all force reporting requirements.

Effective:        11/15/2022

Next Review:  11/15/2023