Lebanon Police Department Use of Force: Neck Area

Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Boone County Sheriff Office Use of Force: Neck Area

The content of this web page is arranged under the following headings:
1. Overview
2. Lebanon Police Department Use of Force Guideline (Effective May 1, 2016)
3. Opinion Regarding LPD Policies Pertaining to Use of Force to Neck Area of Suspects

 

1. Overview

Included below is the Use of Force Standard Operating Guideline 10 that was adopted by the Lebanon Police Department (LPD) effective May 1, 2016. This Guideline is in the process of being reviewed for posting on a Lexipol webpage. 

New LPD officers complete a 16-week training course at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy where instruction is received on defensive tactics, including the use of force. The new officers then spend 15 weeks with an LPD field training officer where de-escalation tactics are emphasized.

The LPD has three defensive tactics instructors. These instructors are re-certified each three years by Protective Training  Services.

LPD officers are trained to use two tactics that involve the neck area of suspects.

(1) A finger tip is used to apply pressure to a Brachial Plexus Origin on either side of a suspect's mid neck area. The Brachial Plexus Origin is a cluster of affector nerves connecting the body to the brain. Pressure to a Brachial Plexus Origin causes the suspect to experience sudden intense pain. The pressure is stopped when the suspect complies. Brachial Plexus Origin pressure is not applied when a suspect is standing, and the suspect's head or neck  is not grabbed by the officer.

(2) The shoulder pin is taught to officers. One of the suspect's arms is lifted and pinned between the officer the suspect. The officer reaches around the front and back of the suspect and grasps both hands above the suspect's shoulder opposite the pinned arm. The front forearm is positioned just below the suspect's neck line. The suspect is restricted, but not brought to unconsciousness. It appears that the shoulder pin has not been used in the field by any LPD officer for at least the past several years. LPD officers typically use an arm bar (which does not involve the neck) instead of the shoulder pin. 

 

2. Lebanon Police Department Use of Force Guideline (Effective May 1, 2016)

Please send an E-mail request to taxless3@comcast.net if you would like to have E-mailed to you an easier-to-read 11-page Windows Live Photo version of this Policy.

NOTE #1: The below 10.1 "Definitions" read as follows:
1. Deadly Force - Any use of force that is reasonably likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.
2. Non-Deadly Force - Any use of force other than that which is considered deadly force. This includes any physical effort used to control or restrain another, or to overcome the resistance of another.
3. Objectively Reasonable - This term means that, in determining the necessity for force and the appropriate level of force, officers shall evaluate each situation in light of the known circumstances including, but not limited to, the seriousness of the crime, the level of threat or resistance presented by the subject, and the danger to the community.

NOTE #2: The term "O.C. Repellant" in the below Standard Operating Guideline 10D refers to oleoresin capsicum, which is an extraction from peppers used in pepper spray.

 

3. Opinion Regarding LPD Policies Pertaining to Use of Force to Neck Area of Suspects

Two deadly force categories of neck restraints are recognized: (a) the chokehold that restricts a suspect's ability to breathe by applying pressure to the suspect's windpipe and (b) the vascular neck restraint that temporarily cuts off blood flow to the brain causing a suspect to go unconscious for a short period (when properly applied to a healthy suspect).

It is good public policy that the LPD does not instruct our officers on the use of either chokeholds or vascular neck restraints!

It has been learned that the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy uses the two Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals cases listed next to instruct our LPD officer recruits regarding their Failure To Intervene responsibility (which is equivalent to a Duty To Intervene or Intercede).

(1) Sanchez vs City of Chicago 700 F3d 919, 2012
Officers can be liable for the failure to intervene and stop their fellow officers from using excessive force.

(2) Lewis vs Downey 581 F3d 467, 2009A bystander officer can be held liable if it can be shown that the officer (a) had reason to know that a fellow officer was using excessive force or committing a constitutional violation, and (b) had a realistic opportunity to intervene to prevent the act from occurring.

After considering the Academy instructions received by our LPD officer recruits, the suggestion listed next is respectfully offered.

SUGGESTION: Include a Duty To Intervene or a Duty To Intercede in the LPD Use of Force Standard Operating Guideline 10. Two apparently acceptable descriptions of a Duty To Intervene or Intercede are listed next.

DUTY TO INTERVENE AND REPORT. All law enforcement officers must intervene when they reasonably believe that a law enforcement officer is using or is about to use unnecessary or excessive force in violation of this mission, and must report the incident to a supervisor. Failure to report incidents involving the use of unnecessary or excessive force will result in disciplinary action.

DUTY TO INTERCEDE. 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.

Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Boone County Sheriff Office Use of Force: Neck Area

This page was last updated on 06/17/20 .