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USE OF FORCE

I.  POLICY

II.  PURPOSE

III. PROCEDURES

It is the policy of the Governor Mifflin School District Office of Safe Schools to limit the use of force to those situations of absolute necessity. All officers will use only the amount of force reasonable and necessary on any particular occasion. It is a priority of the Governor Mifflin School District Office of Safe Schools to actively protect life and limb by the exercise of authority to the functions prescribed by laws of the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the County of Berks.  All officers will read and understand this policy prior to carrying a firearm with the department.  This policy is consistent with the PA Crimes Code, Title 18 PA C.S. ss. 508, Use of Force in Law Enforcement.

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and procedures governing the use of force and weapons by all officers of the Governor Mifflin School District Office of Safe Schools.

Officers are confronted with situations requiring or resulting in the use of force to affect a lawful arrest or to protect the public or other persons from harm. The degree of force used is dependent upon the facts surrounding the situation the officer faces. Only a reasonable and necessary amount of force will be used. The degree of force the officer is forced to use is dependent upon the amount of resistance or threat to safety the situation produces.

Police officers must use reasonable means of apprehension and control before resorting to the use of deadly force. Deadly force is defined as: "Force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.”

       1.  A police officer is justified in using deadly force when he/she believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself/herself or to another person.

      2.  A police officer is justified in using deadly force when he/she believes such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape; and the person to be arrested has committed or attempted a forcible felony or other act which may cause serious bodily injury or death.

      3.  A police officer is justified in using deadly force when he/she believes that such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape; and the person to be arrested is attempting to escape and possesses a deadly weapon.

      4.  A police officer is justified in using deadly force when he/she believes that such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape; and the person to be arrested otherwise indicates that he may endanger human life or inflict serious bodily injury unless arrested without delay.

       A.  Physical Force

       Officers may employ needed and reasonable physical force (holding, pulling, pushing, throwing, or exert greater strength to overcome resistance) in order to defend themselves, another person, or to subdue a resisting subject.

       B.  Handcuffs

       1.  Each officer shall be issued handcuffs supplied by the Department.   Each situation is different and officers are responsible for officer safety and ensuring against escape of the detainee.

       2.  At no time will an officer be handcuffed to a prisoner.  Handcuffs will not be used as a weapon or a "come-along."

       C. Firearms

       1. Officers are permitted to use force consistent with the Pennsylvania State Statutes. In all cases the officer using force upon or toward another person must believe that such force is necessary.

       2. Officers however, will not use their firearms to fire warning shots nor jeopardize the safety of innocent bystanders by firing into a crowd.

       3. All officers will be issued a copy of this directive and receive instruction in its content before being authorized to carry any firearm.

       4. While on duty, officers will carry a weapon that is authorized by the Governor Mifflin School District Office of Safe Schools, capable of firing Department-issued ammunition.

       5.  All Departmental issued firearms kept at home should be secured so as to foil accidental discharge, theft or use by unauthorized persons.

       6. Officers will be required to undergo at least an annual firearms qualification with their service weapon.

       7. Governor Mifflin School District Office of Safe Schools officers who have been granted powers under subsection (c) (2) or (3) of the Pennsylvania School Code, 7-778, and have been authorized to carry a firearm must, before entering upon the duties of his office, successfully complete training as set forth in 53 Pa.C.S., Ch. 21 ss. D.

Note:  This Policy shall not violate the rights of students with disabilities or violate School Board Policy 113.2 – Behavior Support.

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