Use of Force: Totality of the Circumstances

By California Commission on POST


  • Duration: 2 Hrs
  • CPT: 2
  • Created: 1/8/2019

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About This Product

Though using force is rare, it is still a possible outcome each time an officer goes into the field. It is best practice always to be prepared for the possible use of force encounter.

Use of force is not only about which weapon or tactic to use, but about making good lawful decisions and being able to articulate and detail all of the factors and reasons why force was used. Being able to explain the decision as to why force was used-- not in just that instant, but under the totality of the circumstance-- is imperative.

The goal of this training program is to provide law enforcement with a depth of understanding and confidence in applying the laws regarding the use of force. This training will increase the effectiveness of officers in recalling and articulating the totality of the circumstances under which the force was used.

Informational/Individual Viewing:

This viewing mode allows an individual trainee or a small group of trainees to view the training video without formal (classroom) facilitation by an instructor. Features the same scenarios and questions or activities as the “Facilitated Group Course” track. Individual viewers may view sample group discussions, followed by comments from subject matter experts that reiterate and reinforce the teaching points. A "Student Workbook" document (PDF) is downloadable.

Instructions: Videos do not receive automatic CPT because an agency is required to facilitate discussion of the video before submitting an EDI course roster for credit. Only then is course credit for this video recorded in each officer’s or dispatcher’s POST Training Profile. After viewing the video, you will see an” Email Notification” link that will generate a “Verification of Viewing” that you may email to your training manager to let them know you have completed viewing the video and are ready to discuss it.

Support Materials:

Use of Force Participant’s Guide

Use of Force Equation Cards

Use of Force Equation Cards

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