Albany Citizens Police Academy - Week 8 - Use of Force & Jail Tour

This week's Albany Citizens Police Academy started with Community Education Specialist Carmen Westfall started the class with a few reminders about upcoming classes. Then introduced Lieutenant Hyde.

Lieutenant Hyde explained the law surrounding use of force. He explained the effect that case law has on state statutes. Use of force is always determined by the situation but is governed by five rules:

Self Defense
Defense of Others
Effect an Arrest
Overcome Resistance
Prevent Escape

In determining the amount of force to use, the officer must interpret the suspect's intent as well whether the suspect has the means and the opportunity. All three elements must demonstrate all three elements in order to be an immediate threat. The level of force the officer uses must then be a level above the level of threat the suspect is using and must be reasonable for the situation. Reasonable is determined by what other officers would do in the same situation.

Officers must be mentally prepared to use deadly force, so they train for it extensively. Even with training, the use of force, especially deadly force, is never an easy decision to make.

Officer Hyde discussed using a taser. He explained how a taser works and passed around a cartridge. He spent a significant amount of time explaining how the taser affects the body. The taser incapicitates rather than creating a pain reaction. He finished by shooting the taser into a piece of cardboard to demonstrate how it worked. Then he tore out the wires and passed them around, so we could feel and see them up close. Following that he removed the batter and cartridge from the taser and passed it around, so the class would see it, feel the weight, and hold it. I pulled the trigger. What could it hurt? It was completely disarmed. Felt like a toy gun.

Several items used in force of use training were in the front of the room throughout the presentation. After the presentation and before we went to the Sheriff's Office/Jail, we had an opportunity to look at and handle the items used for training officers in proper use of force.

Officer Hyde provided insight into the thought process of officers in determining how and when to use force was quite informative and interesting.  This is information I can definitely use in writing crime fiction!

The jail tour was led by Deputy Hedrick. We saw the video room where prisoners do televised court. We saw the rooms where prisioners are monitored. Deputy Hedrick took us to the Intake area and explained the process in detail. After that he showed us the jail's dentist office, the medical office, and the visitors' area. After that we saw the cell blocks where the inmates live including the towers where the jail is monitored.

Deputy Hedrick answered every question the class asked and provided details and examples to clarify the role of the jail in the juvenile justice system.

The Linn County Jail is much larger than I expected but otherwise it wasn't all that different from the jail I toured several years ago when I was in college.

The chemical odors from the cleaning supplies gave me a headache reminding me why I gave up chemical cleaning products and started making my own several years ago.

I actually considered skipping the jail tour, but I'm glad I didn't. The information Deputy Hedrick shared and being immersed in the environment might prove useful in a future writing project.

Many of the classes haven't really provided direct information that I find useful for my foreseeable writing projects, but both portions of this week's class did. I'm always pleased when I learn something useful for my writing! In case you're wondering there are two more classes and then graduation, so there will are three more scheduled blog posts about the Albany Citizen's Police Adademy.


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