I don’t start each week with a “Use of Force” quota. You’ll never hear me say, “Oh crap, it’s Friday and I haven’t hit anyone with my baton yet.” You get to choose what level of force I use against you. For most people, that level of force is my presence. For a normal, apple pie eating, Diet Coke drinking American, my uniform is enough force to comply with my order.

A much wiser and more experienced officer once explained it to me like this. Use of force is like a menu at a restaurant, and the threat gets to decide what I choose from the menu. If the threat gives me a dollar, I only get to choose from the dollar menu. The choices aren’t very exciting, but those are the only choices he wants me to have.

If the threat changes his mind, and decides to give me three more dollars, so be it. He’s now told me I can order off the four dollar menu. Awesome, the Taser happens to be on the four dollar menu. If I have four dollars, but something on the three dollar menu seems more appropriate, I can choose that instead. Of course, if during my selection process, the threat decides he’s going to take two dollars back, I guess I’ll have to choose from the two dollar menu.

My point is this. Police work is reactive. I’m going to react to your actions. If you don’t want me to order off the five dollar menu, don’t give me five dollars. If you were smart, you would stay the hell away from the restaurant.

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