Rhinelander Police Use of Force
POLICY & PROCEDURE
RHINELANDER POLICE DEPARTMENT
SUBJECT: DEADLY FORCE NUMBER: 5.02
SCOPE: All Sworn Personnel EFFECTIVE: 07/13/2016
DISTRIBUTION: Policy & Procedures Manual RESCINDS 10.03
REFERENCE: WI State Statutes: 939.45, 939.48, and
Chapter 941; DAAT Incident Response
and Disturbance Resolution Model
WILEAG 4TH EDITION
STANDARDS: 5.1.2, 5.3.1, 5.3.3
INDEX AS: Deadly Force
PURPOSE: The purpose of this Policy & Procedure is to provide guidelines for the use
of deadly force when officers of the Rhinelander Police Department are involved in
shooting incidents and other incidents where death or serious injury has resulted from
an officer’s actions.
This Policy & Procedure consists of the following numbered sections:
There is no doubt that many circumstances exist within the normal duty functions of
police officers which call for the use of force.
The use of deadly force particularly deserves a serious consideration, and calls for
the development of practical guidelines for the officer on the street. One
consideration should be stressed- in no way is this policy intended to limit the
officer’s ability to use deadly force when and if the proper circumstances exist.
The officer is expected to retain the right to defend him/her or others with as much
force as is necessary to affect such defense.
This Policy & Procedure is intended to protect the officer from possible criminal or
civil charges stemming from misinterpretation of the law covering the use of deadly
While no general policy or procedure can hope to cover each and every specific
situation the officer may be required to participate in, it is hoped that this policy will
cover the legal points inherent in every situation to the extent that the officer can
make valid and immediate decisions on the street.
A. DEADLY FORCE: The intentional use of a firearm or other instrument that
creates a high probability of death or great bodily harm.
1. The firing of a firearm in the direction of the person to be arrested, even
though no intent exists to kill.
2. The firing of a firearm at a vehicle in which the person to be arrested is riding.
3. Any force applied in any manner by any means, by any member of the
Department that could reasonably be expected to cause death.
4. Besides firearms, many items such as flashlights, batons (stick or collapsible)
and other instruments are considered lethal weapons when they are used in a
lethal manner. For example, the use of a nightstick to subdue a subject by
striking him/her on the arm is a nonlethal use of that instrument. However,
striking on the head or repeated blows to the internal organs could be
construed as deadly force.
B. DEADLY FORCE JUSTIFICATION: Any behavior that an officer reasonably
believes has caused or imminently threatens to cause death or great bodily harm
to you or another person or persons.
C. IMMINENCE: Intent, weapon, delivery system.
A. It is the policy of the Rhinelander Police Department that deadly force SHOULD
only be used as a last resort. This policy requires only that an officer use
reasonable alternatives, if such alternatives are available.
A. Use of Deadly Force- Generally.
1. Recognizing the legal and moral obligation to use force judiciously and wisely,
it is the policy of this Department that deadly force should never be resorted
to until every other reasonable means of apprehension or defense have been
2. Only the minimum amount of force reasonably required to affect an arrest or
control a person should be used by members of the Department. The force
used by an officer should only be that which is required to overcome the
resistance being offered by an offender.
3. This directive is consistent both with Wisconsin law and with the 1985 US
Supreme Court decision in Tennessee v. Garner, 53 U.S.L.W. 4410.
B. Where Deadly Force May Be Used. Deadly force may be used under the
1. As a last resort in the defense of oneself, when there is reasonable cause to
believe that one is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.
2. As a last resort in the defense of another person or persons whom the officer
has reasonable cause to believe is being unlawfully attacked and is in
imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.
3. Deadly force may be used, after all other reasonable means of capture are
exhausted, to effect the arrest or prevent the escape of a suspect whom the
officer has reasonable cause to believe has committed or attempted to
commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force, and the
officer reasonably believes the suspect cannot be apprehended later without
the use of deadly force; and provided further, that the lives of innocent
persons may be endangered if the officer does not use Deadly force.
4. Deadly force should never be used in any misdemeanor case, unless the
criteria in Subsections (a) or (b) above is present, or when the officer is in
doubt as to whether or not deadly force is justified, or when its use would
unreasonably endanger innocent bystanders.
5. When a misdemeanant intentionally flees arrest or escapes from custody,
pursuant to a legal arrest for a misdemeanor, or after having been lawfully
charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor, such act of fleeing does not
constitute a felony permitting the officer to resort to the use of deadly force if
other reasonable means have failed to prevent the escape.
The value of human life is considered to supersede the importance of
6. Except when exigent circumstances exist where an arrest may be facilitated,
an officer should not threaten to use deadly force unless he/she reasonably
believes that he/she would be justified under this policy to, in fact, use such
7. Weapons should not be discharged from a moving vehicle unless absolutely
necessary to protect the life of the officer or a third person and when the use
of deadly force would not unreasonably endanger the lives of others.
8. An officer may draw his/her sidearm when he/she has reasonable grounds to
suspect that the use of deadly force may be necessary. The officer need not
be under attack, but only be reasonably apprehensive that the situation may
lead to circumstances outlined above. Side arms should not be drawn under
any other circumstances.
9. This section is intended to allow the officer to have his/her weapon ready in
such circumstances as answering a silent alarm, conducting a building search
or confronting a suspect whom there is reasonable grounds to believe may be
armed, or when the officer reasonably believes circumstances indicate a
substantial risk of death or great bodily harm to his/her person or another.
10. There is no legal distinction in the use of deadly force against juveniles as
compared to adults.
11. To protect oneself or another from an animal which an Officer reasonably
believes may cause great bodily harm if not immediately controlled.
12. For Department-mandated firearms, practice and qualification on an approved
range are mandatory.
13. As a last resort, to euthanize a dangerous or seriously diseased animal or
one that is so seriously injured that humanity dictates its removal from
suffering, but only after consideration is given to the public’s safety and
whether other dispositions may be feasible.
14. Officers should not fire into buildings or through doors, windows, or other
forms of concealment or cover unless the Officer is certain of the person’s
presence that is to be lawfully fired upon.
15. Officers should not discharge a firearm from or at a moving vehicle unless the
officer reasonably believes that the occupant(s) of the vehicle are using or are
about to use deadly physical force against the officer or another person.
16. Officers should not fire warning shots.
17. Before using deadly force, officers should, if reasonably possible, identify
themselves, order the suspect to desist from the unlawful activity, and
threaten to use deadly force if the lawful order is not obeyed.Page 5 of 6
18. Officers should not use deadly force when its use unreasonably risks the lives
of innocent bystanders. This in no way prohibits an officer from using deadly
force if the suspect’s actions are a greater danger to bystanders than the
officer’s actions to stop the threat by employing deadly force.
19. The intentional punching, striking, or grabbing the throat (trachea) or blocking
or restricting the carotid neck arteries creates a substantial likelihood of death
or great bodily harm and, therefore, should be used only in accordance with
this policy on the use of deadly force.
20. There is recognition that the use of deadly force is accompanied by severe
emotional and psychological strain for the officer involved. Officers are
trained in the proper use of firearms and are required to maintain rigorous
standards of shooting proficiency and accuracy.
C. Reports on Use of Deadly Force.
1. In all circumstances, when a firearm is discharged by an officer while on duty,
the officer in question shall report such facts promptly to the Chief of Police,
and/or his/her designee. However, officers need only to complete a report
and make a notation in the daily log and in an Incident Report when deadly
force is used to dispatch an animal.
2. Officers involved in the use of deadly force shall not discuss the matter with
anyone, including other officers. The officers will be debriefed by the Chief or
3. The Chief may have an officer from another law enforcement agency
interview the officer involved.
4. The supervisor of the investigation shall forward a complete report of the
incident and his/her investigation to the Chief.
1. Before deadly force is authorized in self-defense, several qualifications should
a) Retaliation or revenge is not an excuse for killing in self-defense.
b) The danger or harm is a present one.
c) There is no justification to use deadly force after the danger has passed.
d) The force threatened is unlawful.
e) The officer believes that the use of deadly force was the only means
available to avert death or great bodily harm.Page 6 of 6
f) The degree of force used by the officer was believed to be necessary
under the circumstances.
g) The officer’s belief in each of the foregoing aspects was reasonable even
E. Personnel mandated to receive and understand this Policy & Procedure.
1. Prior to being authorized to carry a firearm, all officers shall receive a copy of
this Policy & Procedure and demonstrate their understanding of the
procedures within the Policy & Procedure.
Chief of Police
This Policy & Procedure cancels and supersedes any and all written directives relative
to the subject matter contained herein
POLICY & PROCEDURE
RHINELANDER POLICE DEPARTMENT
SUBJECT: NON-DEADLY FORCE NUMBER: 5.01
SCOPE: All Department Personnel EFFECTIVE: 07/08/2020
DISTRIBUTION: Policy & Procedures Manual RESCINDS 10.01
REFERENCE: Revision 02 05 2019 WILEAG 4TH EDITION
STANDARDS: 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3,
5.1.4, 5.2.1, 5.3.1, 5.3.2, 5.3.3,
18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199
INDEX AS: Control Devices
DAAT (Defense and Arrest Tactics)
Less Lethal Weapons
Rendering Medical Aid, Use of Force
Use of Force
Use of Non-Deadly Force
Use of Force Reporting
Use of Force Review
PURPOSE: The purpose of this Policy & Procedure is to establish guidelines for the
use of non-deadly force by sworn personnel of the Rhinelander Police Department to
affect a detention, seizure, arrest, and/or other lawful custody of a person (including
emergency medical and/or mental health custody); use force in self-defense or defense
of another; to prevent or intercede in a person’s self-injury; in defense of property; in
community caretaker function; and/or to initiate or maintain control, custody, and/or
detention of a person. Proper use-of-force decisions, based on the United States’
(U.S.) Constitutional force standards and any more restrictive Wisconsin force
standards, ensure appropriate due process for persons as well as provide protection for
officers and the Department.
This policy is based in part on the Defense and Arrest Tactics (DAAT) program of the
State of Wisconsin as developed by the Wisconsin Training and Standards Board
(Department of Justice-Bureau of Training and Standards).
This Policy & Procedure consists of the following numbered sections:
A. As used in this policy, non-deadly force means the use of any weapon or
instrument, or any other action taken by an officer, which is not likely to cause
death, but which may result in bodily harm or injury to a person.
A. It is the policy of the Rhinelander Police Department that, recognizing our legal
and moral responsibility to use force wisely and judiciously, non-deadly force will
be used only when necessary in the performance of an officer’s legal duties. The
purpose of the use of force is to establish and maintain control. Officers need not
retreat or desist from efforts to make lawful arrests because of the resistance to
the arrests. Officers are justified in using force which they reasonably believe is
necessary to defend themselves or others from bodily harm while making arrests.
Officers shall use only that amount of force that is reasonably necessary to
achieve a lawful objective. The use of non-deadly force is only authorized when
an officer reasonably believes it is necessary to control a person under any of the
1. Effecting an arrest.
2. Protecting oneself or another.
3. Overcoming resistance.
4. Detaining a person reasonably suspected of unlawful behavior.
5. Preventing escape.
6. Maintaining order.
At no time is an officer permitted to use excessive force.
B. Verbal Commands. Control of a person through verbal commands shall always
be the primary tactic. The use of physical force and/or non-deadly weaponry is
the alternative method to verbal commands.
It is recognized that verbal commands are not always effective or appropriate in
gaining compliance and it then becomes necessary to escalate the degree of
force. When it is reasonably determined that verbal commands are not or would
not be effective nor appropriate, an officer may escalate the degree of force
based on the actions of the person they are attempting to control.
C. The concept of escalating/de-escalating degrees of force is based on an officer’s
reaction to a specific action of the person s/he is attempting to control. Officers
are not required to begin a confrontation with dialogue and escalate step by step
until control is gained if it is reasonably believed that the reaction would be
ineffective or inappropriate based on the actions of the person they are
attempting to control. Once a person is under control, officers are required to
revert to the lowest degree of force necessary to maintain that control.
STATE OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM OF INTERVENTION OPTIONS
Presence To present a visible display of Authority
Dialog To verbally persuade
Control Alternatives To overcome passive resistance, active resistance, or their threats
Protective Alternatives To overcome continued resistance, assaultive behavior, or their threats
Deadly Force To stop the threat
D. Officer/Subject Factors – Level of Force. Numerous factors may affect the
selection of an appropriate level of force. Examples of officer/subject factors
1. Age. An older officer may have to use more force on a younger person who
is more agile and stronger. Where in contrast, the younger officer who is
quicker, stronger, and has more stamina would use less force to control an
2. Relative Strength: The different make up of males and females may be a
factor in handling a member of the opposite sex. It is a known fact that
females usually have less upper body strength than their male counterparts.
A male officer may use less force arresting/detaining a female, where a
female officer may use more force to arrest/detain a male.
3. Size. A larger officer may be able to control a smaller person with the least
amount of force, where a smaller officer would have to intensify the amount of
force to accomplish the same task.
4. Skill Level. A highly trained officer in unarmed tactics may need to only use
a proper technique that would use very little force to make an arrest or to
detain; where an officer with no current training may need to use more force.
The ability of the person being arrested/detained plays a major role here also.
A karate expert may not be detained/arrested and controlled easily because
of his/her martial arts skills.
5. Multiple Subjects. Even the most skilled officer in unarmed tactics is no
match for several subjects with the intent to harm the officer. Higher levels of
force may be necessary to survive in these circumstances.
E. Acceleration Through the Intervention Options. Listed below are some of the
circumstances which may cause an officer to accelerate very rapidly through the
1. Special Knowledge. When an officer is confronted by a person who they
have been in contact with previously and knows the person is usually armed
with a weapon, the officer may approach the situation with the intent to use a
high level of force if needed. If an officer knows, from previous cases, that
the person to be detained/arrested is a fighter and has assaulted an officer in
the past, more force may be expected to be needed to detain/arrest that
2. Injury or Exhaustion. Where an officer is injured in a confrontation and is
losing, the officer may need to use a weapon or a higher level of force to bring
the situation under control. If an officer cannot endure a length confrontation
because of exhaustion or physical fatigue, escalation through the intervention
options may be necessary.
3. Proximity to the Officer’s Firearm. A close proximity to the officer’s firearm
exposes the officer to the possibility of a lethal force situation. If the person
removes the holstered weapon, the likelihood the officer will be shot is
4. Ground Fighting. Since grappling is a match of strength and skill, some say
that if the officer is not handcuffing or in control while on the ground, then the
officer is losing. If the officer is on the ground and the aggressor is standing,
the officer faces a greater danger.
5. Disability. Officers who have disabilities may find it necessary to escalate on
the Force Option Continuum to a higher level of force.
A. An officer shall use only the minimum amount of force that is reasonably
necessary to perform his/her lawful duties.
B. Under no circumstances may an officer continue to use force (except mere
physical restraint) against an individual who has ceased to resist, escape, or
otherwise violate the law.
C. Once control has been established officers shall be responsible for appropriately
(as defined by legal standards) monitoring the person’s condition and welfare.
Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, all persons arrested will be handcuffed,
searched and then transported in a police vehicle.
D. An officer shall not brandish, display, or threaten the use of a use-of-force tool
unless (s)he can reasonably conclude its use may become justified and is
anticipated. Use of force tools includes OC, ECD, Impact Weapons, Specialty
Impact Munitions, and Firearms.
E. Officers may include in the decision to use force information known to, or
reasonably perceived by, the officer at the time of the incident, including conduct
or statements of the person or prior history of resistive or assaultive behavior.
F. Oleoresin Capsicum Spray:
1. Officers who have been trained and certified in the use of OC shall carry
Rhinelander Department issued OC while on duty.
a) If the officer has a special duty assignment that does not make carrying
OC feasible, the officer may be exempt from carrying OC for the
2. Trained personnel may use OC when a subject is threatening to actively
resist or is actively resisting an officer and the subject poses an articulable
threat of harm to an officer or another person. It may also be used when the
subject poses a threat of harm to himself or herself such as self-inflicted injury
or a suicide attempt.
3. Officers may include in the decision to use the force option information known
to the officer at the time of incident, including conduct or statements of the
subject or prior history of resistive or assaultive behavior.
4. Generally, OC should not be sprayed at a person from a distance of less than 3 feet.
5. When OC is used against a person or animal, the user shall notify an on-duty
supervisor and shall complete an offense report detailing the circumstances
of the incident.
6. If practical, department personnel who use OC against a person shall ensure
the person is decontaminated as soon as practical after he or she is under
a) If possible, expose the person to fresh air and flush the exposed area with
b) If practical, the subject may be allowed to remove contact lenses.
c) Continue to monitor the exposed person for any unusual reactions to the
exposure. If the exposed person has an unusual reaction or requests
medical attention, transportation to a medical facility shall be arranged.
G. Electronic Control Device:
Electronic Control Device (ECD): A battery powered less-lethal device that uses
propelled wires and probes or direct contact to conduct sufficient energy to affect
the sensory and motor functions of the human and animal nervous system. The
intended purpose of the device is to incapacitate and help control actively
resistive, potential active resistive, and/or violent persons or animals with
reduced potential for great bodily harm or death.
1. Units approved by the Rhinelander Police Department:
a) Advanced Taser X-26 ECD, X-26P, or X2
2. An electronic control device may be used by trained officers when a subject is
threatening to actively resist or is actively resisting an officer and the subject
poses an articulable threat of harm to an officer or another person. It may
also be used when the subject poses a threat of harm to himself or herself
such as self-inflicted injury or a suicide attempt. Passive resistance without
posing an articulable threat of harm to officers or others does not justify the
use of an Electronic Control Device.
a) Officers may also include in the decision to use this force option
information known to the officer at the time of the incident, including
conduct or statements of the subject or prior history of resistive or
3. Passive resistance without posing an articulable threat of harm to officers or
others does not permit the use of an electronic control device.
4. Deployment and use of the electronic control device will be in accordance
with department training and procedure. The electronic control device shall
be carried on the opposite side of the body from the firearm. An officer shall
not brandish, display, or threaten the use of an electronic control device
unless he or she can reasonably conclude its use may become justified or is
5. In each instance when an electronic control device is deployed at an incident,
a determination will be made regarding the need for lethal cover.
a) Lethal cover shall be required in all cases in which the subject possesses
a firearm or other deadly threat.
b) The electronic control device is not a substitute for deadly force – in cases
where a subject poses an articulable threat of death to an officer or
another person, an officer may not arm him or herself with an electronic
control device unless another officer is present and capable of
immediately delivering deadly force.
6. Elevated ECD deployment risk factors: The following factors, when
reasonably perceived by the officer(s) at the time of the incident, require
elevated justification(s) for deployment. Under the following conditions the
risk of direct or secondary injury to the person is foreseeably elevated, thus
the justification for ECD deployment is also elevated. The officer(s) must
balance the elevated risk(s) of injury with the need for immediate
apprehension or protection.
a) Presence of flammable materials
b) Person in an elevated position
c) Person operating a vehicle (capable of moving)
d) Person running
e) Person obviously or known to be pregnant
f) Person in water sufficient to drown
g) Person obviously frail or infirm
7. ECD deployment methods: The primary deployment method is to discharge
the ECD cartridge propelling the probes and probe wires. The back-up
deployment method is to firmly drive the attached fired ECD cartridge into the
a) Removing the ECD cartridge to apply a drive stun is not a primary
deployment technique. It is discouraged because it provides limited
effectiveness and has a higher propensity for causing minor burn marks or
friction abrasions to the skin than probe deployment.
8. ECD deployment cycle(s): Officers shall deliver only the number of
deployment cycles reasonably necessary to control the person. If practical,
cover officer(s) present should move in and control the person during the
deployment cycle(s). If multiple cycles have been delivered and the person
still can not be controlled, officers should consider escalation of force options
9. Taser probes may not be intentionally fired at the face, head, neck, or groin.
10. All probes shall be considered a bio-hazard and removed using personal
protective equipment if practical.Page 8 of 12
11. POST DEPLOYMENT:
a) Department personnel who use an electronic control device against a
person shall ensure the person is monitored for injury as soon as practical
after the person is under control. Officers shall monitor the subject for
adverse reactions. Officers shall immediately arrange for transportation of
the suspect to the hospital if an adverse reaction to the electronic control
device occurs, or if medical treatment is requested by the subject.
Whenever there is doubt concerning the need for medical attention, it
should be resolved through the examination of the subject by an
appropriate medical facility.
b) If the probes are imbedded in sensitive tissue areas, i.e. neck, face, groin,
or the breast of a female, officers shall arrange transportation to a medical
facility for removal. If the probes are imbedded in other non-sensitive
tissue areas, a trained officer may remove them according to the trained
c) Once a subject is secured in custody, an evaluation of the application site
should be made to determine the necessity for photographs.
d) Following deployment of an electronic control device, officers shall make a
request for a printout of the dataport download from the specific device
used for their reports.
e) It is the responsibility of the deploying officer to obtain a new cartridge
prior to ending his/her shift.
12. REPORTING OF USE OF ELECTRONIC CONTROL DEVICE:
a) When an electronic control device is used against a person or animal, the
user shall notify an on-duty supervisor and shall complete an incident
report, documenting circumstances necessitating, and manner of, such
use. The officer shall also complete a Use of Force Report and a copy
shall be given to the Chief of Police.
H. Impact Weapon: (baton)
1. Patrol officers and patrol sergeants shall be required to have an
approved impact weapon reasonably available to them while on duty.
2. The use of authorized batons is permitted against assaultive behavior
or threatened assaultive behavior directed at an officer or another
person that would reasonably subject the officer or other person to
3. The appropriate target areas for baton strikes are the lower abdominal
area (Baton Jab) and the knee and elbow area (Angle Strike and
Angle-Cross Strike). The intentional use of a baton to strike the head
of a subject carries with it a high propensity for serious injury or death.
Therefore, although use of the baton is not classified as deadly force,
an intentional strike to the head could be considered excessive force
unless special circumstances justified it.
I. Specialty Impact Munitions
1. Specialty Impact Munitions may be utilized by trained department personnel
in circumstances where a level of force less than deadly force may be
appropriate for resolving the situation and when the risk associated with
closing on the subject to take control makes other alternatives unsafe. This
option may be used when a person poses a significant threat of harm to self
or others and unarmed tactics have been exhausted or would not be effective
or safe given the circumstances. The goal of using Specialty Impact
Munitions is to impede a subject, preventing him or her from continuing
resistive, assaultive, or otherwise dangerous behavior. Continued resistance
means that an individual is maintaining a level of counteractive behavior that
is not controlled with the officer’s current level of force. Assaultive behavior
occurs when an individual’s direct actions generate bodily harm to the
officer(s) and/or another person(s).
a) Officers may include in the decision to use this force option, information
known to the officer at the time of the incident, including conduct or
statements of the subject or prior history of resistive or assaultive behavior
and possession of weapons.
2. An officer shall not brandish, display or threaten the use of a specialty impact
munitions unless he or she can reasonably conclude its use may become
justified and anticipated.
3. When Specialty Impact Munitions are used against the body of a person, the
officer will notify an on-duty supervisor and will complete an offense report
detailing the circumstances of the incident. The Chief of Police shall be
notified as soon as practical after deploying specialty impact munitions. The
officer shall also complete a use of force report and forward it to the Chief of
4. Delivery systems
a) 12 gauge Pump Shotgun
(1) Only RPD authorized and issued rounds may be used
(2) List of RPD authorized specialty impact munition rounds: Defense
Technology 12 gauge “tear drop” drag stabilized bean bag round
5. The 12 gauge pump shotguns utilized to deploy Specialty Impact Munitions
shall be dedicated to sole use of less-lethal alternatives. When deploying the
12 gauge shotgun as a less-lethal option, the officer shall insure each round