“There is no black and white answer on how to use force in police work. There are lower levels of control such as the use of hands to softly strike a person or even verbal commands. A baton is considered to be an intermediate level, while a high level would include the use of a duty weapon against a suspect,” Hughes said.
He added, “The rules governing the use of a baton change. Where I am six-foot, two-inches tall, it might not be reasonable to use a baton on a suspect who is smaller or not as powerful. We teach cadets to use a baton if lower levels of controlling the situation are not working or perceived not to be working to try a baton- especially if they are bigger, larger or intoxicated.”
Hughes said that the ratio of police officers to suspects would make a difference in employing a baton. “Even if there are three or four officers involved in an incident, it could be a conceivable justification to use batons if the use of hands put the officers in danger.”
The deployment and availability of less-lethal weaponry may discourage the use of batons against suspects, according to Hughes. “Baton use also depends on the availability of pepper spray or Tazers to provide a less-lethal option for officers.”
The Cadiz Police Department issues officers pepper spray.
Read more of Hughes' training protocols in your latest Cadiz Record.