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WPD explains use of force tactics

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It seems encounters with law enforcement are becoming more violent across the country.

Even here, we’ve been following a story about a Wilmington police officer accused of choking and threatening a handcuffed teen in his patrol car.

So, what are the approved use of force tactics?

From tasers to K9s, lethal force and pepper spray, Wilmington police used these tactics in 2013 to take down criminals, but how effective were they?

A K9 bite, less effective than the sight of the dog. A taser probe, less effective than just showing the taser. But why?

We went through WPD’s 2013 Internal Affairs Report, and asked them about these findings.

“If the probes don’t make good contact with the body, or there is not enough separation of the probes on the body then you’re not going to get a good electrical charge if you will,” Deputy Chief Marshall Williamson said.

But what tactics are the most effective? Williamson says it all depends on the situation.

“It doesn’t matter if you arrest the same person today in one area of use of force works today; you arrest the same person tomorrow, that same arena that you applied yesterday may not be effective today,” Williamson said.

He says that makes it impossible to pinpoint the most effective tactics.

And with all the recent K9 controversy, how effective are dogs in catching suspects? The report shows the simple display of a dog almost always stops criminals.

But what about bites? The report says they are not as effective.

“Some people react differently,” Williamson explained. “The dog many not have gotten a good bite on someone.”

But he says K9s are very useful when it comes to chasing a suspect.

“The force of the dog at 30-40 miles an hour will knock you down,” Williamson said.

Other effective uses of force were soft and hard empty hand control. Soft empty hand control meaning joint locks and wrist locks, and hard empty hand control meaning an officer actually striking a suspect with their body.

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