E.P.P. 1 Response to Resistance



                The purpose of this directive is to provide enforcement personnel with the police department’s policy on responses to resistance.




                The Longwood Police Department recognizes and respects the value and integrity of each human life. In vesting officers with the      lawful authority to respond to resistance to protect the public welfare, a careful balance of all human interests is required. Police    department members will use only the force necessary to effect lawful objectives.





                It is incumbent upon personnel of the police department to be thoroughly familiar with and obey all provisions set forth within         this directive to ensure that the protection of human life is of paramount concern.




                A.            Deadly Response to Resistance: Deadly response to resistance is that response employed which is likely to cause death                     or great bodily harm. It is not only determined by the type of weapon used but also by the circumstances under which it                     is used. A deadly response is further defined to include:


1.            The firing of a firearm in the direction of a person to be  arrested, even though no intent exists to kill or inflict            great bodily harm;

 2.            The firing of a firearm at a vehicle in which a person to be arrested is riding;

 3.           The use of a police department vehicle to intentionally ram a vehicle in which a person to be arrested is riding;        and,

 4.            Use of the expandable/retractable baton to inflict strikes to lethal areas.


B.            Felony:  Crime punishable under Florida Statue by death or imprisonment in excess of one year in a state penitentiary.


C.      Forcible Felony: As defined by Chapter 776.08, Florida State Statutes: treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home- invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.


D.       Great Bodily Harm: A bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death; causes serious, permanent disfigurement; or results in the long-term loss, or impairment, or the functioning of any bodily member or organ.


E.           Last Resort: When all practical means to avoid using a deadly response to resistance have been exhausted.


F.       Misdemeanor:  Any criminal offense that are punishable under Florida Statute by a term of imprisonment in a county correctional facility not in excess of one year.


G.         Non-Deadly Response to Resistance: Any response to resistance, other than that which is considered deadly. It is neither likely, nor intended, to cause great bodily harm.


H.         Physical Response to Resistance: The physical power used to overcome another and is not likely to cause death or great   bodily harm.


I.          Probable Cause/Reasonable Belief: Those facts or circumstances the officer knows, or should know, to cause an ordinary and prudent person of sound thinking and within the bounds of common sense, to act and think in a similar way under similar circumstances.


J.        Warning Shots: The intentional discharge of a firearm in an attempt to warn or frighten a suspect into some action or inaction. The use of warning shots by an Officer is strictly prohibited.


K.            Weapons: Weapons shall include lethal and non-lethal weapons issued or approved for use by police officers. 


                1.            Lethal weapons are classified as firearms (shotguns, rifles, and  handguns).


   2.     Non-lethal weapons are classified as individual protective devices (Taser, OC/CS Spray, and A.S.P.(expandable/retractable batons).




A.          Only personnel, who are certified full time, part time, or auxiliary officers and have demonstrated proficiency in the use of agency authorized weapons, and have been issued copies of and instructed in the agency’s Response to Resistance Policy, will be allowed to carry said weapons, while on-duty or off-duty. “Demonstrated proficiency” is defined as the achievement of at least minimum qualifying scores in a prescribed training course, familiarization with safe-handling techniques, and being familiar with this Response to Resistance Policy. Only weapons meeting agency authorized specifications will be used by personnel engaging in law enforcement responsibilities both on and off duty.


B.          Prior to training, weapons instructors will examine all weapons for safety violations and defects. Any weapon determined to be unsafe or defective will be immediately removed from service for repair or disposal.


C.         Proficiency training, including scores or other grades, will be documented by the instructors and submitted to the training coordinator for inclusion into each officer’s training file; and,


D.         Officers who fail to qualify at least once annually with an assigned on-duty or off-duty weapon will be prohibited from use of that weapon and reassigned and/or relieved from duty until a satisfactory level of competence and proficiency has been established. If an officer fails to qualify with an issued or approved weapon:


1.       The weapons instructor shall inform the officer at the time of disqualification that he/she is relieved from duty pending successful completion of remedial training. The officer will be advised to make notification to his/her immediate supervisor;


2.            The weapons instructor shall, in writing, immediately notify:


                a)            The employee’s immediate supervisor,

                b)            The employee’s division supervisors

                c)            The training coordinator,

                d)            The chief of police.


3.            The training coordinator will, in conjunction with the weapons instructor, develop a remedial training schedule for any officer who fails to qualify with an issued or approved weapon. The procedure for remedial training shall be as follows:


a)            The training coordinator will schedule lectures, reviews and practice sessions with an instructor in which the officer will be required to attend and participate;


b)            The training coordinator will, in conjunction with the instructor, schedule test sessions for re-testing the officer; and,


c)            The training coordinator will report the officer’s compliance or continued failure to comply through the Chain of Command to the division supervisor. The division supervisor may order a continuation of remedial training or may take other action, including disciplinary action, against any officer repeatedly failing weapons competency examinations.




A.            Officers and other enforcement personnel are responsible for rendering medical assistance at incidents where deadly or non-deadly force is used and serious or life-threatening injuries are sustained by individuals. Procedures for medical assistance at the scene will consist of:


1.            Personnel will render medical assistance within the limit and scope of their training;


2.            Regardless of training, personnel will immediately summon and direct emergency medical assistance to the scene of the incident through the telecommunications section, other personnel or through passers-by; and,


3.            Personnel will attempt to protect injured persons from further injury.




A.            An officer, whose response to resistance has resulted in death or serious injury, will be removed from line-duty assignment pending an administrative review of the incident. Relief from immediate duty may be ordered by any level of supervision.  It will be at the discretion of the chief whether removal from “line-duty assignment” will be defined as administrative leave or temporary assignment elsewhere in the police department. At the discretion of the chief, an officer relieved from duty under the above circumstances may be referred to professional counseling.


B.        Any member whose actions, deliberate or accidental, result in the death or serious injury of another, will be removed from duty assignment pending an administrative review of the incident. Relief from duty may be ordered by any level of supervision.  At the discretion of the chief, a member relieved from duty under the above circumstances may be referred to professional counseling.


C.            An officer will be relieved from line duty, pending remedial weapons re-qualification, in the event of an accidental discharge of a firearm when no injury or damage has occurred.


D.            An officer will be relieved from duty due to failure to successfully pass a weapons qualification training session, in accordance with Chapter V of this directive.




  1. An arrest report for arrest situations, or a CJIS report for all others, will be submitted whenever an employee:


1.            Discharges a firearm for other than training or recreational purposes; or,


2.            Takes any action that results in, or is alleged to have resulted in, injury or death of another person; or,


3.            Responds to resistance through the use of lethal or less lethal weapons; or,


4.            Responds to resistance with weaponless physical force


B.            A thorough review of all written reports submitted in accordance with this procedure will be conducted by each supervisory level through the chain of command. A report of the findings and any corrective and/or disciplinary action will be forwarded to the chief of police.




              It is the responsibility of all enforcement personnel to be knowledgeable of the Response to Resistance Matrix incorporated as part of this directive.


              The Response to Resistance Matrix is meant to be used as a guideline for an officer to select an effective, reasonable, and legal response to resistance in a verbal or physical encounter. As a subject increases his/her resistance level from verbal to physical, an officer may have to increase the level of his/her response until the resistance ceases, and the Officer is able to gain control of the subject. As soon as the point of subject compliance is reached, the officer must de-escalate his/her response level to the minimum necessary to control the subject.


              In properly determining the appropriate response to a subject’s resistance, several factors must be evaluated by an officer. For instance, and un-armed, small framed, female juvenile subject may be displaying Level 5 resistance, but would probably only require a Level 3 response by the average officer. On the other hand, a single officer faced with a very large professional wrestler or football player may very well find that his/her response to even mild resistance must be escalated to a relatively high point on the matrix. It must be remembered that by law, an officer need not retreat in his/her efforts to lawfully control a subject but may respond to that resistance as necessary to accomplish his/her task. This is not to say that a tactical retreat in the face of overwhelming odds may not be a wise choice.




              The following definitions were developed for each of the levels of resistance and officer response. They begin at the lowest level and progress to the highest level.


              A.            Resistance Levels:


                              1.            Level 1 – Presence:


                                              A subject is there, on the scene, in attendance of suspicious activity.


                              2.            Level 2 – Verbal Resistance:


                A subject may verbally refuse to comply with an officer’s requests of attempts to control the situation. The subject may threaten the officer with further resistance or the subject may not respond to the officer.


3.            Level 3 – Passive Physical Resistance:


                A subject physically refuses to comply or respond. He/she does not make any attempt to physically defeat the actions of the officer, but forces the officer to escalate efforts and maneuvers to establish control.


4.            Level 4 –Active Physical Resistance:


                A subject makes physically evasive movements to defeat and officer’s attempt at control. This may be in the form of bracing or tensing, attempts to push/pull away or not allowing the officer to get close to him/her.



5.            Level 5 – Aggressive Physical Resistance:


                A subject makes overt, hostile attacking movements which may cause injury but not likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the officer or others.


6.            Level 6 – Aggravated Physical Resistance:


                A subject makes overt, hostile, attacking movements, with or without a weapon with the intent and apparent ability to cause death or great bodily harm to the officer or others.


B.          Officer Response Levels:


1.            Level 1 – Presence:


                The officer is there, on the scene, in attendance. This includes proper voice and/or other identification, body language, and awareness by the subject that he/she is dealing with an Officer.


2.            Level 1 – Interview Stance:


                The officer adopts a stance outside of his/her danger zone that provides appropriate protection and forms the basis of an effective physical response if attacked. In such a stance the firearm or strong side leg is back, the non-firearm or weak side leg is forward, the feet are about should width apart; knees slightly bent giving balance, control, and a lower body center of gravity, equally distributed body weight, and the hands are up for guarding the upper body.


3.            Level 2 – Dialogue:


                A two way, controlled, non-emotional communication between the officer and subject aimed at problem identification or resolution.



4.            Level 2 – Verbal Direction:


                An officer tells or commands a subject to engage in or refrain from a specific action or non-action.


5.            Level 2 – Touch:


                An officer employs a soft assisting touch when directing, or a firm, strong, touch prior to escalating to a higher level of force.

                             6.               Level 3 – Transporters:


                Techniques used to control and/or move a subject from point A to point B with minimum effort by the officer in order to gain and retain control over the subject.


7.            Level 3 – Pain Compliance:


                Techniques that force a subject to comply with an officer as a result of the officer inflicting controlled pain upon specific points in the subject’s body such as pressure point techniques.


8.            Level 3 – Take Downs:


                Techniques that redirect, in a controlled manner, a subject to the ground in order to limit his/her physical resistance and to facilitate the application of a restraint device.


9.            Level 3 – Restraint Devices:


                Mechanical tools used to restrict a subject’s movement and facilitate searching; such as handcuffs, flex cuffs, leg irons, optional nylon restraining device, etc.


10.          Level 3 – Counter Moves:


                Techniques that impede a subject’s movement toward an officer or others; such as blocking, striking, distracting, kicking, parrying, dodging, weaving, redirecting, or avoiding, followed by appropriate controlling techniques.


11.          Level 4 – Intermediate Weapons:


                Weapons that are primarily used to control a subject.


12.          Level 5 – Incapacitating:


                Techniques that are intended to stun or render a subject temporarily unconscious, delivered with or without an impact weapon; such as a strike to a major nerve area.


 13.          Level 6 – Deadly Responses:


                Techniques that may result in imminent death or serious injury, unconsciousness, or permanent disfigurement; such as impact weapon strikes to the head or use of firearms. Deadly response techniques are a last resort.


C.            Additional factors that must be considered when making response decisions include various subject and officer factors.


                                1.            Subject Factors:


                                                a)            The seriousness of crime committed by the subject;


                                                b)            The size, age, and weight of the subject;


                                                c)            The apparent physical ability of the subject;


     d)            The number of subjects present who are involved or may become involved;


     e)            Weapons possessed by or available to the subject;


     f)             Any known history of violence by the subject;


     g)            Presence of innocents or potential victims in the area;


     h)            Whether the subject can be recaptured at a later time; and,


      i)             Whether evidence is likely to be lost or destroyed.


                           2. Officer Factors:

     a)            The size, physical ability, and defensive tactics expertise of the officer;


     b)            The number of other officers present or available to assist with the situation;


     c)            The officer’s immediate reaction in the case of sudden attack;


     d)            Weapons or restraint devices available to the officer;


      e)            Legal requirements; and,


      f)             Police Department Policy.



A.            Officers are authorized to use a deadly response only when the officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.


B.            When it becomes necessary to resort to the use of a firearm, it must be fired for maximum effect.


C.            All officers authorized to carry firearms may discharge them only under the following circumstances:


1.            To protect the officer or other persons from what is reasonably believed to be an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm.


2.            To apprehend a fleeing forcible felony suspect or a fleeing escapee from a penal institution when such a response is necessary and there is probable cause to believe that the suspect poses an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to the officer or the public at large.


                The officer must inform the person they seek to arrest of their authority and the cause of arrest, if possible and feasible; except when such person flees or forcibly resists before the officer has an opportunity to inform that person or when the giving of such information would imperil the arrest.


3.            When conducting ballistics tests in a laboratory environment or attempting to verify a weapon is in working order at an authorized firing range.


4.            When legally engaged in shooting exhibitions or competitions.


5.            When involved in firearms practice of qualification at an authorized facility.


6.            To kill a dangerous animal or one that humane considerations requires release from further suffering; when other means of disposal (such as the availability of the Seminole County Division of Animal Control) are unavailable and attendant circumstances are appropriate. If possible, permission will be obtained from the owner (if any) of the animal before it is destroyed. When all efforts to notify the owner have been exhausted, contact should be made with a supervisor to obtain approval.


7.            To call for assistance for a life threatening purpose when no other means are available and the round will be fired into the ground for safety.

D.            Firearms may be used only under circumstances, which provide a high probability of striking the intended objective and without causing harm to innocent persons. Firearms will not be discharged under the following conditions:


1.            When circumstances do not provide a high probability of striking the intended target, or when there is a substantial risk to the safety of innocent persons or law enforcement personnel.


2.            To affect warning shots in an attempt to halt the actions or to warn an individual engaged in criminal activity.


3.            Officers shall not discharge their firearms at or from a moving vehicle unless the occupants of the other vehicle are using deadly force against the officer or another person by means of other than the vehicle.


                            4.            Firing at escaping prisoners who are handcuffed, unless returning fire.


5.            Fire into crowds or over heads of crowds.


E.            Drawing and Displaying:


                           1.              Firearms will not be drawn or displayed unless it is tactically necessary based upon considerations of personal safety                                               and the safety of others. The following exceptions are allowed:


2.            Firearms cleaning, maintenance, approved training, or participation in approved activities which will be conducted outside the view of the general public unless approved by a supervisor.






Except for those authorized training situations or recreational activities in which a firearm was discharged by an officer, the following procedures will be used for every incident where a firearm has been discharged by an officer:


**NOTE: Standardized Response to Resistance (R-2) Review will not be used when documenting or investigating deadly response incidents**


A.            The Involved Officer:


When an officer discharges a firearm either accidentally or in the line of duty, the officer shall immediately take the following action:


1.            Determine the condition of any injured person, render first aid, and summon medical assistance, if appropriate.


2.            Evaluate the condition of injured person(s) to determine if they pose an immediate threat to the officer or any other persons present and secure if necessary.


3.            Notify the telecommunications section of the incident and location, request assistance to secure the scene, and advise if a medical response is necessary.


4.            The officer will remain at the scene (unless injured) until the arrival of the appropriate supervisor. If the continued presence of the officer at the scene might cause a more hazardous condition, the ranking supervisor at the scene shall have the discretion to instruct the officer to report to another location. If the involved officer is removed from the scene, a law enforcement officer will be assigned to escort and maintain contact with the involved officer until the conclusion of the preliminary field investigation.


5.            The officer will preserve their weapon for later examination. The weapon will be submitted to the appropriate          investigator when so requested.


6.            In the event of an accidental discharge of a firearm where no injury or property damage has occurred:


a)            The involved officer will immediately notify a supervisor, who will respond to the scene.


b)            The responding supervisor will interview the officer and other persons present to determine if a violation of police department policy has occurred.


c)            The involved officer will submit a written report to the supervisor explaining the facts of the situation.


d)            The supervisor will complete a written statement, to be attached to the officer’s report, which will summarize the incident including any findings of policy violation and/or recommendations for disciplinary action. The report will be submitted to the officer’s division supervisor, through the chain of command, as expeditiously as possible.




                B.            The Division Supervisor:


1.            The division supervisor will relieve the officer from line duty pending remedial weapons re-qualification and completion of the administrative review of the incident. This will be reflected in the supervisor’s report.


2.            The involved officer may be temporarily assigned to non-enforcement duties pending remedial weapons re-qualification and completion of the administrative review of the incident.


                C.            The Patrol Supervisor shall:


                                1.            Proceed immediately to the scene.


                                2.            Assume responsibility for securing the scene.


                                3.            Conduct a preliminary field investigation.


                                4.            Assist the involved officer.


                                5.            Render command assistance to the assigned investigator.


**NOTE: The supervisor will retain control of the scene until specifically relieved by the responding investigator**


                D.            The Investigations Division:


Situations that involve the use of a deadly response to resistance will merit an investigation by the Investigations Division. Such investigation will include a detailed report that is submitted to the chief for review. Unless otherwise 

directed by the chief, the Patrol Division supervisor will conduct an administrative review of the incident and will submit written findings to the chief in conjunction with the report of the Investigations Division.


The Investigations Division will conduct a thorough investigation of every shooting by an officer, which results in injury or death. The investigation shall include the following procedural standards at a minimum:


1.            The on-duty investigator will respond to the scene immediately upon notification.


2.            Assume responsibility for securing the scene.


3.            Examine the weapon(s) of all officers present at the time the shot(s) were fired, including secondary and any other weapons in the officer’s vehicle.


4.            Seize the weapon(s) that may have been fired.


5.            Seize samples of unspent ammunition.


6.            Separate, secure, and interview all on-scene witnesses.


7.            Ensure the security of all physical evidence.


8.            Secure copies of all radio transmissions, telephone or other recordings from the telecommunications section.


9.            Prior to interviewing or requesting written statements of the involved officer, the investigator shall advise the            officer of his/her constitutional rights.


10.          Obtain hospital, autopsy, laboratory and photographic reports.


11.          Submit a detailed written report of the investigation to the chief through the chain of command for review.


                E.            The Patrol Division Supervisor:


1.            After the preliminary investigation is completed by the Investigations Division; unless advised otherwise by the         chief, an administrative review will be conducted by the Patrol Division supervisor.


2.            If training consideration had been met in the areas of drawing and exhibiting the weapon, the firing of the                 weapon, tactics prior to drawing and discharging the weapon, and tactics during and following discharge.


3.            The level of supervision provided prior to, during, and subsequent to the shooting incident.


4.            The Patrol Division supervisor will evaluate the post-shooting investigation of the Investigations Division and              prepare a report of the findings for the chief.




A.            Officers are not permitted to use a non-deadly weapons or techniques unless proficient and qualified in their use as determined by training procedures. Only weapons meeting agency authorized specifications will be used by personnel engaging in law enforcement responsibilities both on and off duty.


B.            Use of a Physical Response to Resistance:


                The use of physical responses to subdue a person is restricted to those instances of:


                1.            Justifiable self-defense.


                2.            The protection of others.


                3.            The protection of property.


                4.            To prevent escapes.


                5.            To restrain or subdue a resisting individual under arrest.


                6.            To bring an unlawful situation safely and effectively under control.


  7.            To take into custody a mentally disturbed person under the auspices of an involuntary examination as authorized      in Florida State Statute 394.


  8.            To take a subject into protective custody for substance abuse services as authorized in Florida State Statute 397.


              C.            In no event is physical force to be used as punishment.


D.            Flashlights are not designed or approved as an offensive weapon. Use should be restricted only for defense and only as a last resort. No other weapons (including but not limited to slap jacks, brass knuckles, PR-24 batons, leaded gloves, etc.) are authorized for possession or use by any employee of the police department.




The following procedures will be used to report every incident in which an officer utilizes a non-deadly response to resistance. 


A.            The Involved Officer:


When an officer utilizes a non-deadly response in the performance of his/her duties, the officer shall immediately take the following action:


1.            Determine the condition of any injured person, render first aid, and summon medical assistance if appropriate.


2.            If the subject is injured, transport (or cause to be transported by rescue personnel) the subject to the nearest            hospital emergency room. In all incidents where the subject loses consciousness, the subject shall be examined by   hospital emergency room personnel prior to transport to any correctional facility.


3.            Document in the narrative portion of the written report the circumstances, which necessitated the response to         resistance and specify the amount and type of response utilized.


                **NOTE: The written report should reflect the totality of the circumstances involved which necessitated the response. Those factors constituting ‘reasonable suspicion’ and/or ‘probable cause’ should be clearly described. Any statements made by the suspect should be quoted directly, if possible. Detail the care rendered to the suspect after control was gained. The officer’s perceptions at the time of occurrence based on the officer’s training and experience should also be stated**


4.            Situations that involve the use of a non-deadly response to resistance greater than level 2 will require written documentation on a standardized Response to Resistance (R-2) Review. Photographs will be taken of the subject who offered the resistance. The photographs will capture images of the subject’s entire body and also focus on and isolate specific areas affected by the officer’s response to the subject’s resistance (i.e. Taser probe sites, bruises, swelling, or scratches). All photographs will be attached to and submitted with the response to resistance form.   


5.            If feasible, or physically able, an officer will complete the Response to Resistance (R-2) Review and submit it to the chain of command prior to the conclusion of the duty day in which the incident occurred. If the officer is not able to complete the report, the officer’s supervisor shall complete it for the officer.


6.            Before a report is submitted to the chain of command for review, all information required by the report shall be       completed as fully as possible by the reporting officer to include all information necessary from the reporting officer’s supervisor (after conducting an investigation of the incident), medical personnel (if appropriate), and by any police department personnel who witnessed the incident.


7.            All Response to Resistance (R-2) Reviews requires a written response and/or recommendation from an officer’s         immediate supervisor.



8.            Supervisors at each level of the officer’s chain of command will review the Response to Resistance Reviews and        may make recommendations as to whether the officer’s response was proper. Supervisors may agree with the employee’s action, or may recommend that corrective or disciplinary action be taken.


9.            Division supervisors shall make a determination of the situation based on the statements contained in the report     and may refer the matter to the chief with a recommendation for a detailed review by the professional conduct review section.


10.          A copy of each Response to Resistance (R-2) Review will be retained by the Patrol Division supervisor. The original     report shall be transmitted to the professional conduct review section for archival purposes.


                11.         The application of agency authorized restraint devices alone are not considered a use of non-deadly response to                                   resistance and will not require the completion of a Response to Resistance (R-2) ReviewReporting requirements                                    relating to application of restraint devices are detailed in Enforcement Policy and Procedure; EPP – 5.  


                B.            The On-Duty Patrol Supervisor Shall:


1.            Ensure that all injuries are treated with the appropriate degree of care consistent with the extent of the injury.


2.            Ensure that the narrative portion of any arrest or incident report completely and accurately describes the actions      of the officer and the subject.


3.            Ensure that the Response to Resistance (R-2) Review, along with any additional reports or forms as required by          other directives, is completed and forwarded to the appropriate users (bottom of form denotes routing.)


4.            Ensure that all necessary witness statements from other law enforcement officers or persons are obtained.


                C.            The Patrol Division Supervisor:


An administrative review will be conducted by the Patrol Division supervisor, only at the direction of the chief of police. This review will attempt to determine the following:


1.            Whether the action of officers were within the parameters of police department policy.


2.            If training considerations had been met in the areas of response to non-deadly resistance.


3.            The level of supervision provided prior to, during, and subsequent to the incident.


4.            The patrol commander will prepare a report of findings for the chief.

                          RESPONSE   LEVELS


6.  Aggravated Physical














5.  Aggressive Physical














4.  Active Physical














3.  Passive Physical














2.  Verbal














1.  Presence














Checked areas represent suggested, acceptable, beginning response levels.

Any response in an unchecked area requires explanation.


Interview Stance Arrival 


Verbal Direction




Resistant Devices


Take Downs

Pain Compliance

Counter Moves

Intermediate Weapons


Deadly Force












Intermediate Control