General Order


TITLE: Use of Force


August 19, 2009



REVIEWED/REVISED: January 25, 2011


RESCINDS: General Orders, Chapter 31,IV,B,D(2) (3) (4)


The purpose of this directive is to set forth the policy regarding the Control of Resistive Behavior for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office


This policy is for internal use only. The policy does not claim to create a higher legal standard of safety or care on 3rd party claims. Violation of this policy may for the basis of M.C.S.O. sanctions only. Law violations may form the basis of civil or criminal action in a court of law.


The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office endorses the use of force guidelines as defined by the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and federal and state law. Florida Statutes Chapter 776 authorizes the use of force in arrest and detention situations, in preventing an escape, and in defense of persons.

Use of Force Goal:

The goal of using force is to achieve subject compliance.

Deputies may face situations where control must be exercised to effect an arrest or protect public safety. It is the philosophy of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office that physical safety of the deputy, suspect and inmate is of utmost importance.

A deputy’s use of force will be judged against the totality of circumstances using an objective

reasonableness standard. When force is used, authorities will ask “whether a deputy’s actions were objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting the deputy. It is the duty of the deputy to determine the appropriate level of force based upon the facts and circumstances of each situation.

Deputies will only use the force necessary to accomplish lawful objectives. In other words, a deputy may use deadly force only when the deputy reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life, including the deputy’s own life, or in defense of any person in imminent danger of serious physical injury. The nature of the control may range from the deputy’s presence to the deputy’s use of deadly force. The deputy must use no higher level of control than is necessary than to control the subject or effect an arrest. Use of excessive control technique(s) or improper application of control technique(s) or force could result in disciplinary action against the deputy and create a liability for the Sheriff’s Office.


Totality of Circumstances- a term the courts use to refer to all facts and circumstances known to the deputy at the time of reasonably perceived by the deputy as the basis for the use of force decision.

Deadly Force- force that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

Less Lethal Force- force that is not likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

Less Lethal Weapons- a weapon that is not fundamentally designed to cause death or great

bodily harm such as electronic control devices (ECD), dart firing stun guns (TASER), expandable batons, flashlights and chemical agent sprays.

Less Lethal Munitions- means a projectile that is designed to stun, temporarily incapacitate, or cause temporary discomfort to a person without penetrating a person’s body (F.S. 776.06 (2) (a)).

Great Bodily Harm- means great as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor or moderate harm and as such does not include mere bruises as are likely to be inflicted in a simple battery.

Reasonable Belief- a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances would be warranted in the belief that his or her safety or that of others was in danger.

Escalation- increasing the use of force or resistance.

De-escalation- decreasing the use of force or resistance.

Disengagement- discontinuing a command or physical use of force.


Passive Resistance- a subject’s verbal and/or physical refusal to comply with a deputy’s lawful direction causing the deputy to use physical techniques to establish control.

Active Resistance- a subject’s use of physically evasive movements directed toward the deputy such as bracing, pushing, or pulling to prevent the deputy from establishing control over the subject.

Aggressive Resistance- a subject’s attacking movements toward a deputy that may cause injury, but are not likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the deputy or others.

Deadly Force Resistance- a subject’s hostile, attacking movements with or without a weapon that create a reasonable perception by the deputy that the subject intends to cause and has

the capability of causing death or great bodily harm to the deputy or others.



Procedure- The primary deputy involved in the incident resulting in the in-custody death will obtain the Law Enforcement Custodial Death Report and enter all applicable case data.

After review by the deputy’s supervisor, the Law Enforcement custodial Death Report will be returned to the Records Division for final completion and review.


The Records Division supervisor will then send the original Law Enforcement Custodial Death Report to the FDLE Statistical Analysis Center.

A copy will be filed with the Professional Standards Division.


At least annually, all personnel authorized to carry weapons by the Office shall participate in in-service training on this Use of Force Policy. [CALEA 1.3.11]


The Director of Training shall conduct a documented annual analysis of all Subject Resistance Reports for patterns or trends of training needs, equipment upgrades, and/or policy modifications. [CALEA 1.3.7]

The completed annual analysis report will be sent to the Sheriff via Chain of Command to include recommendations for resolutions. [CALEA 1.3.13]

The following is the decision making process using FDLE Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission’s Force Guidelines.

Subject Resistance

Is the subject verbally or physically resisting my lawful authority?

Is the subject making attacking movements that are not likely to cause death or great bodily harm?

Is the subject making attacking movements that are likely to cause death or great bodily harm?


Were my actions reasonable based on the subject’s resistance and the totality of the circumstances?

Am I able to articulate the reasons for my actions?

Was I in compliance with constitutional and state laws, agency policy, and training?


The Decision Making Process

Situational Factors

What subject factors influence this situation? Weapon? Physical size? Demeanor? Others?

What officer factors influence this situation? Training? Experience? Physical size? Others?

What environmental factors influence this situation? Weather? Location? Presence of others?

Officer’s Response

Can I physically control the subject?

Could I use a non-lethal weapon not meant to cause death or great bodily harm?

Is deadly force the appropriate option to prevent death or great bodily harm to myself or others?