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Use of Force

Use of Force Policy

  • MSP's use of force policy requires enforcement members to de-escalate the amount of force used proportionally to a resisting subject's de-escalation of his/her resistance. 
  • Enforcement members are trained to utilize multiple forms of de-escalation techniques, including, but not limited to, verbal skills, physical skills, restraints, and less lethal tactics.   
  • Enforcement members are trained to utilize de-escalation tactics, such as verbal commands or less lethal options prior to discharging their duty weapon.  
  • MSP policy recognizes there are rapidly developing situations when officers will not have time to utilize de-escalation or less lethal tactics and must employ the immediate use of fatal force to protect themselves or others.  
  • Enforcement members may only discharge a firearm at a vehicle in the following circumstances:
    • Self-defense or defense of another - to justify the discharge of a firearm at a vehicle there must be some overt action on the part of the driver to establish an intent to kill or severely injure, as opposed to actions taken to escape arrest.
    • Life-threatening felonies with the use of a firearm - weapon may be pointed and/or discharged at a vehicle when an enforcement member has probable cause to believe an occupant has committed a life-threatening felony (murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, felony arson, attempted arson, certain kidnapping crimes and criminal sexual conduct involving a weapon).
  • MSP policy prohibits the use of choke holds except when deadly force would be otherwise authorized. The prohibition on choke holds includes grabbing or striking a person's throat or kneeling or standing on a person's neck.
  • All use of force must be reported to the officer's supervisor immediately and documented in the department's report writing and use of force programs.
  • All instances of use of force are reviewed by a supervisor.
  • Enforcement members shall render first aid at the scene of the incident as soon as practical to any individual who has visible injuries, complains of being injured, or requests medical attention.  

05-01 – Subject Control and Use of Force   
05-02 – Use of Deadly Force
05-03 – Use of Force on Escaping Prisoners
05-04 – Chokeholds
05-05 – Use of Nondeadly Force
05-06 – Use of Electro-Muscular Disruption Devices
05-07 – Use of Weapons of Last Resort
05-08 – Post-Use of Force Medical Care
05-09 – Discharging Firearms at Animals


MCOLES Subject Control Continuum



  • Enforcement members receive approximately 90 hours of hands-on defensive tactics training during recruit school. Approximately 10 hours of this time is dedicated to decision-making scenarios that involve no use of force and multiple levels of force. MSP members are trained to utilize de-escalation tactics, such as verbal commands or less lethal options prior to discharging their duty weapon.  
  • De-escalation training comes in many forms and is woven throughout recruit school training. In addition to learning physical de-escalation tactics, recruits are taught verbal de-escalation, decision-making, and how to control their emotions when in tense situations.
  • After recruit school, enforcement members are required to participate in 4 - 8 hours of annual training in defensive tactics techniques and Taser use.  Enforcement members are also required to successfully pass a written use-of-force exam annually.


Allegations of Excessive Force

  • All allegations of misconduct against a member of the MSP are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Citizens or witnesses to an incident who believe excessive force was used can make a complaint to any MSP supervisor.  
  • All potential violations of department policy are investigated by the independent investigators of the Professional Standards Section. If an investigation reveals that a violation of policy occurred, the officer is subject to progressive discipline that could include termination of employment. If a violation of law occurred, the officer can face criminal charges, in addition to discipline.  
  • MSP policy, commonly referred to as a "duty to intervene" policy, requires that enforcement members take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent or stop the use of excessive force or unnecessary violence committed in their presence by other members; by officers or agents of other law enforcement agencies; or by other government employees.