Welcome to Farmingdale State College’s Policy Library. This library is the official repository for all institutional policies and procedures and is intended to be a resource for faculty, staff and students seeking information related to the policies that govern the institution. This library does not contain department-specific policies and procedures. Please contact the department for specific departmental policies and procedures.

Please direct all questions regarding policy content to the Responsible Office listed on the respective policy.

If you wish to propose or amend an institutional policy, please review the Policy for Developing Intuitional Policies and complete the Policy Proposal Form.

For assistance with drafting and amending policies, please refer to the Policy Writing Guidance and/or contact the Risk and Compliance Office at 934-420-5365.

Use of Force

Policy Purpose

This policy provides guidelines on the reasonable use of force. While there is no way to specify the exact amount or type of reasonable force to be applied in any situation, every member of this department is expected to use these guidelines to make such decisions in a professional, impartial and reasonable manner.

Persons Affected

Faculty, Staff, Students, Third-Parties

Policy Statement

The use of force by law enforcement personnel is a matter of critical concern, both to the public and to the law enforcement community. Officers are involved on a daily basis in numerous and varied interactions and, when warranted, may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties.

Officers must have an understanding of, and true appreciation for, their authority and limitations.This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties.

The New York State University Police @ Farmingdale recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires monitoring, evaluation and a careful balancing of all interests.

When appropriate, officers shall attempt to "de-escalate" situations through the use of verbal techniques and demeanor. "De- escalation" can reduce the hostility of a situation and may reduce or remove the necessity to use physical force.


Definitions related to this policy include:

  • Objectively Reasonable - An objective standard used to judge an officer's actions. Under this standard, a particular application of force must be judged through the perspective of a reasonableofficer facing the same set of circumstances, without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, and be basedon the totality of the facts that are known to that officer at the time that the force was used
  • Deadly Physical Force - Physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.
  • Physical Injury - Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.
  • Serious Physical Injury - Physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ

Responsible Office

Any officer present and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances shall, when in a position to do so, intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor.

Officers shall use only that amount of force that reasonably appears necessary given the facts and circumstances perceived by the officer at the time of the event to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

The reasonableness of force will be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene at the time of the incident. Any evaluation of reasonableness must allow for the fact that officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force that reasonably appears necessary in a particular situation, with limited information and in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.

Given that no policy can realistically predict every possible situation an officer might encounter,officers are entrusted to use well-reasoned discretion in determining the appropriate use of force in each incident.

It is also recognized that circumstances may arise in which officers reasonably believe that it would be impractical or ineffective to use any of the tools, weapons or methods provided by this department. Officers may find it more effective or reasonable to improvise their response to rapidly unfolding conditions that they are confronting. In such circumstances, the use of any improvised device or method must nonetheless be reasonable and utilized only to the degree that reasonably appears necessary to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

While the ultimate objective of every law enforcement encounter is to avoid or minimize injury,nothing in this policy requires an officer to retreat or be exposed to possible physical injury before applying reasonable force.

A police officer or a peace officer may use reasonable physical force to effect an arrest or prevent escape (Penal Law § 35.30).

When determining whether to apply force and evaluating whether an officer has used reasonable force, a number of factors should be taken into consideration, as time and circumstances permit.These factors include, but are not limited to:
(a)Immediacy and severity of the threat to officers or others.
(b)The conduct of the individual being confronted, as reasonably perceived by the office rat the time.
(c)Officer/subject factors (i.e., age, size, relative strength, skill level, injuries sustained,level of exhaustion or fatigue, the number of officers available vs. subjects).
(d)The effects of drugs or alcohol.
(e)Individual's mental state or capacity.
(f)Proximity of weapons or dangerous improvised devices.
(g)The degree to which the individual has been effectively restrained and his/her ability to resist despite being restrained.
(h)The availability of other options and their possible effectiveness.
(i)Seriousness of the suspected offense or reason for contact with the individual.
(j)Training and experience of the officer.
(k)Potential for injury to officers, suspects and others.
(l)Whether the individual appears to be resisting, attempting to evade arrest by flight or is attacking the officer.
(m)The risk and reasonably foreseeable consequences of escape.
(n)The apparent need for immediate control of the individual or a prompt resolution of the situation.
(o)Whether the conduct of the individual being confronted no longer reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to the officer or others.
(p)Prior contacts with the individual or awareness of any propensity for violence.
(q)Any other exigent circumstances

Pain compliance techniques may be effective in controlling a physically or actively resisting individual. Officers may only apply those pain compliance techniques for which they have successfully completed department-approved training. Officers utilizing any pain compliance technique should consider:
(a)The degree to which the application of the technique may be controlled given the level of resistance.
(b)Whether the individual can comply with the direction or orders of the officer.
(c)Whether the individual has been given sufficient opportunity to comply.
The application of any pain compliance technique shall be discontinued once the officer determines that compliance has been achieved.

The proper application of the carotid control hold may be effective in restraining a violent or combative individual. However, due to the potential for injury, the use of the carotid control hold is subject to the following:

The officer shall have successfully completed department-approved training in the use and application of the carotid control hold.(b)The carotid control hold may only be used when circumstances perceived by the officer at the time indicate that such application reasonably appears necessary to control an individual in any of the following circumstances:1.The individual is violent or physically resisting.2.The individual, by words or actions, has demonstrated an intention to be violent and reasonably appears to have the potential to harm officers, him/herself or others.(c)The application of a carotid control hold on the following individuals should generally be avoided unless the totality of the circumstances indicates that other available options reasonably appear ineffective, or would present a greater danger to the officer, the individual or others, and the officer reasonably believes that the need to control the individual outweighs the risk of applying a carotid control hold:1.Individuals who are known to be pregnant2.Elderly individuals3.Obvious juveniles(d)Any individual who has had the carotid control hold applied, regardless of whether he/she was rendered unconscious, shall be promptly examined by medical personnel and should be monitored until examined by medical personnel.(e)The officer shall inform any person receiving custody, or any person placed in a position of providing care, that the individual has been subjected to the carotid control hold and whether the individual lost consciousness as a result.(f)Any officer attempting or applying the carotid control hold shall promptly notify a supervisor of the use or attempted use of such hold.(g)The use or attempted use of the carotid control hold shall be thoroughly documented by the officer in any related reports.

Force shall not be used by an officer for the following reasons:(a)To extract an item from the anus or vagina of a subject without a warrant, except where exigent circumstances are present;(b)To coerce a confession from a subject in custody;(c)To obtain blood, saliva, urine, or other bodily fluid or cells, from an individual for the purposes of scientific testing in lieu of a court order where required;(d)Against persons who are handcuffed or restrained unless it is used to prevent injury,escape, or otherwise overcome active or passive resistance posed by the subject

Use of deadly force is justified in the following circumstances:(a)An officer may use deadly force to protect him/herself or others from what he/she reasonably believes would be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.(b)An officer may use deadly force to stop a fleeing subject when the officer has probable cause to believe that the individual has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death to any other person if the individual is not immediately apprehended. Under such circumstances, a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force, where feasible.Imminent does not mean immediate or instantaneous. An imminent danger may exist even if the suspect is not at that very moment pointing a weapon at someone. For example, an imminent danger may exist if an officer reasonably believes any of the following:1.The individual has a weapon or is attempting to access one and it is reasonable to believe the individual intends to use it against the officer or another person.2.The individual is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death without a weapon and it is reasonable to believe the individual intends to do so.

Shots fired at or from a moving vehicle are rarely effective. Officers should move out of the path of an approaching vehicle instead of discharging their firearm at the vehicle or any of its occupants.An officer should only discharge a firearm at a moving vehicle or its occupants when the officer reasonably believes there are no other reasonable means available to avert the threat of the vehicle, or if deadly force other than the vehicle is directed at the officer or others.Officers should not shoot at any part of a vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle.

Any use of force by a member of this department shall be documented promptly, completely and accurately in an appropriate report, depending on the nature of the incident. The officer should articulate the factors perceived and why he/she believed the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances. To collect data for purposes of training, resource allocation, analysis and related purposes, the Department may require the completion of additional report forms, as specified in department policy, procedure or law.

Supervisory notification shall be made as soon as practicable following the application of force in any of the following circumstances:

(a)The application caused a visible injury.(b)The application would lead a reasonable officer to conclude that the individual may have experienced more than momentary discomfort.(c)The individual subjected to the force complained of injury or continuing pain.(d)The individual indicates intent to pursue litigation.(e)Any application of the conducted energy device or control device.(f)Any application of a restraint device other than handcuffs, shackles or belly chains.(g)The individual subjected to the force was rendered unconscious.(h)An individual was struck or kicked.(i)An individual alleges any of the above has occurred.

Prior to booking or release, medical assistance shall be obtained for any person who exhibits signs of physical distress, has sustained visible injury, expresses a complaint of injury or continuing pain, or 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 individual's injuries,medical assistance may consist of examination by an emergency medical services provider or medical personnel at a hospital or 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 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 on-scene supervisor, or if not available, 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). Individuals 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. Officers who reasonably suspect a medical emergency should request medical assistance as soon as practicable and have medical personnel stage away (see the Medical Aid and Response Policy).

When a supervisor is able to respond to an incident in which there has been a reported application of force, the supervisor is expected to:(a)Obtain the basic facts from the involved officers. Absent an allegation of mis conductor excessive force, this will be considered a routine contact in the normal course of duties.(b)Ensure that any injured parties are examined and treated.(c)When possible, separately obtain a recorded interview with the individual upon whom force was applied. If this interview is conducted without the individual having voluntarily waived his/her Miranda rights, the following shall apply:1.The content of the interview should not be summarized or included in any related criminal charges.2.The fact that a recorded interview was conducted should be documented in an incident report.3.The recording of the interview should be distinctly marked for retention until all potential for civil litigation has expired.(d)Once any initial medical assessment has been completed or first aid has been rendered, ensure that photographs have been taken of any areas involving visible injury or complaint of pain, as well as overall photographs of uninjured areas.1.These photographs should be retained until all potential for civil litigation has expired.(e)Identify any witnesses not already included in related reports.(f)Review and approve all related reports.(g)Determine if there is any indication that the individual may pursue civil litigation.1.If there is an indication of potential civil litigation, the supervisor should complete and route a notification of a potential claim through the appropriate channels.(h)Evaluate the circumstances surrounding the incident and initiate an administrative investigation if there is a question of policy noncompliance or if for any reason further investigation may be appropriate.In the event that a supervisor is unable to respond to the scene of an incident involving the reported application of force, the supervisor is still expected to complete as many of the above items as circumstances permit.

The Lieutenant, in consultation with the command staff, shall review each use of force by any personnel within his/her command to ensure compliance with this policy and to address any training issues.

Officers will receive annual training on this policy and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.Training topics will include use of force, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and negotiation,and de-escalation techniques and strategies, including, but not limited to, interacting with persons presenting in an agitated condition as well as duty to intervene and prohibited conduct.This policy is not intended to be a substitute for proper training in the use of force. Comprehensive training is the key to the real-world application of the concepts discussed within this policy.

Policy History

Revised 6/13/2019