NTOA Forums Operational Leadership SWAT Command Decision-Making And Leadership I: Federman v. County of Kern What is your policy on chemical agents/OC as it relates to EDP’s?

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    • #4572
    • #6359
      mmWayne Griffin

      When it comes to chemical agents/OC and using them against Emotional Disturbed People, this is one of the last tactics that we employ. Due to the uncertainty of the effects that a chemical agent may have on an EDP, we try and exhaust all other tactics. In some cases, chemical agents are not even an option.

    • #6486
      mmDrew Leblanc

      We have plans in place when it comes to the use of less than lethal weapons in EDP situations. I think the totality of circumstances at a scene will dictate the use of less than lethal means of operations. Sometimes they will not even be an option if the EDP has issues that the less than lethal can cause them harm. This is where the best intel we can have on any scene is important in command decisions.

    • #6693
      Jeffrey Brown

      As part of our SOP we have a gas plan in place for any barricade operations. In cases where we are dealing only with an EDP and no crime the gas plan will not be implemented unless we have exhausted most of our other options. We have not to date used gas or chemical agents on an EDP to force them out of a structure.

    • #7668
      mmJacob Taylor

      Only if there is a public safety issue. EDP’s inside their own home, with no criminal charges, has recently turned into controlled de-escalation. After a period of time and attempt to get the EDP help, we will leave. This is case by case dependent.

    • #7744
      Anthony Kies

      First of all nothing is ruled out no matter who we are dealing with. Our policy as far as it relates to OC and EDP’s is nothing short of dealing with the totality of the circumstances surrounding the call to then decide what the best practice will be. When you take into consideration the life saving priorities, our intl, and our environment then and only then will that dictate why we do what we do when we do it.

    • #7750
      mmChris Eklund

      As a SWAT team we are not handling these types of incidents when there is no crime. In the case where there may be an EDP and we are there under our guidelines I trust our gas deployment options are used much the same as other teams with the capabilities.

    • #7960
      Max Yakovlev

      As a swat team we also do not respond to EDP calls. If other circumstance are in play we follow our SOP’s on gas/OC deployment.

    • #8071
      Adam Bradford

      Chemical agents/OC on EDP is a last resort tactic.

    • #8328
      Jon Thompson

      It depends. If the EDP is a suspect in a crime and that is why the team is at his residence, then a gas plan is par for the course and a very necessary part of planning. However, if the police have contacted the EDP only due to a mental health issue, our team will not respond at all, absent some violent violation of law. IN these cases, even on patrol, our department policy is to attempt to get the EDP to voluntarily leave his residence but we will simply pack our bags and walk away at some point if the subject is non-compliant.

    • #8346
      Jesse Laintz

      The standard operating procedure for using force against and EDP for our team is not to do it, unless it is lifesaving or becomes criminal. Working in the Fourth Circuit we are required to operate under court decisions of Estate of Armstrong v. Village of Pinehurst, (2016), which is a recent case that addresses the use of force, more specifically a Taser, on someone during an involuntary commitment. The case did not only examine whether the law was established at the time the force was used but instead reviewed the facts of whether the force used was unconstitutional. The review started with the three considerations from Graham v. Connor in detail. Looking at serious of the offense, the court wrote that this factor went in favor of Armstrong because the officers were not arresting him for a crime but were instead trying to take custody of him for a mental health commitment. The court went on to say that the officers know he was mentally ill because they were executing an involuntary commitment order and cited the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit with, “The diminished capacity of an unarmed detainee must be taken into account when assessing the amount of force to be exerted. The problems posed by, and thus the tactics to be employed against, an unarmed, emotionally distraught individual who is creating a disturbance or resisting arrest are ordinarily different from those involved in law enforcement efforts to subdue an armed and dangerous individual who has recently committed a crime.” The Fourth Circuit then review the second consideration, threat to officers and others, in Graham and the fact that the doctor who signed the involuntary commitment stated that Armstrong was a danger to himself, not others. The court said protecting a person from themselves has little government interest in using force to accomplish the seizure. The court went on to point out that using force to protect the person against self-harm was contrary to the very purpose of the seizure, which was to protect the person from harm. Weigh on the first two factors the court said, “The first Graham factor thus weighs against the imposition of force. The government’s interest in seizing Armstrong was to prevent a mentally ill man from harming himself. The justification for the seizure, therefore, does not vindicate any degree of force that risks substantial harm to the subject.” The third consideration, actively resisting or evading arrest, was reviewed level and Armstrong was resisting by refusing to let go of the pole he was holding on to for 30 seconds. The court concluded, “Non-compliance with lawful orders justifies some use of force, but the level of justified force varies based on the risks posed by the resistance. Armstrong was stationary, non-violent, and surrounded by people willing to help return him to the Hospital.” The court concluded that there was little danger or urgency involved. This is important to tactical officers, especially when dealing with a non-criminal barricade since the purpose of the custody is to protect a person from themselves.

    • #8485
      mmShawn Wilson

      All actions are viewed in light of Graham v Connor. Articulated facts need to be present within any use of force. Do I remove tools from officers hands in a blanket policy or is discretion allowed using Graham v Connor. Am I increasing the tension of the situation and causing a violent reaction. I reference the US Court of Appeals 6th CCT Hill v Miracle which involved the use of a Taser on a subject having a diabetic reaction.

    • #8501
      Thomas Carroll

      Our policy does not specifically cover the use of chemical agents / OC in regards to EDPs. Generally, we will not deploy to EDP’s unless there is a high threat to public safety or they have committed a criminal offensive that meets our call out criteria. We will adjust our chemical agent / OC tactics when there are valid medical considerations for an EDP.

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