Training without force continuums: Learn to love the law

By John Bostain
Senior Instructor for Use of Force
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)

There is increasing debate in the law enforcement community concerning Use of Force continuums and whether they have outlived their usefulness as training tools. Nearly every week I receive e-mails and phone calls asking me, “Why did the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) discontinue teaching the Use of Force Model?” “Is it possible to effectively teach use of force without one?” “Are there disadvantages of using a continuum in training and in agency policies?”

The purpose of this article is to try to answer those questions and hopefully provoke continued discussion about this issue. For the purpose of this article, the words “continuum” and “model” will be used interchangeably to refer to any graphic representation of the escalation and de-escalation of force.

Why did FLETC discontinue teaching the Use of Force Model?

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