Use of Force – A Sacred Trust

Movies glorify violence, and the force used by protection professionals all the time. They view these encounters as routine and full of adrenaline and excitement. The truth is anyone who has been in a situation that forced them to experience violence firsthand can tell you it lacks glory. Use of force experiences are ugly, messy, undisciplined, and terrifying with unknown outcomes.  Security professionals, like law enforcement professionals, are trusted by their organizations and the public to exercise force. These professionals are trusted to exercise physical force for the protection of others. This is a sacred trust, and security leaders must work diligently to prepare officers to make that decision well.

Force is a last resort. There is no need to qualify this statement. If force is not used as a last resort to protect life, then there was a failure. All efforts to avoid force should be leveraged. This is why critical thinking skills are so important for officer training and development. There are so many tools to choose from; and the officer must be prepared to make the best possible decision. In my blog on the Strategic Security Officer concept, I discuss this cognitive development further. But good decision-making training is not the only preparation needed to use force.

Use of force training begins long before the officer enters a classroom. It starts with hiring the right people. Character counts, and that must be a part of the hiring assessment for every officer we hire. Are we hiring protectors or are we hiring bullies? That question matters. Every day, when we respond to a patient who is agitated, we can enter that person’s life and choose to protect them or hurt them. Protection must be our touchstone, the hallmark of our success.

We must seek protection for all stakeholders at all costs. That is our mandate. There are certainly times when we will use force for the sake of protection. But let us not fall into the Hollywood trap. Force is an ugly thing. Let’s seek first to prevent violence and train our officers to use all tools at their disposal before resorting to violence. Our ability to uphold this sacred trust demands it.

How does your facility teach use of force skills? How to you incorporate your understanding of this responsibility in your hiring processed? Join the conversation in the comments below. Please like, follow, and share to support the blog.

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