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TREASURY ORDER 105-12

BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
 
DATE: October 17, 1995
 
REAFFIRMED:  October 23, 2000
 
SUNSET REVIEW: October 23, 2005
 
SUBJECT: Policy on the Use of Force
 
1. By virtue of the authority vested in the Secretary of the Treasury, including the authority vested by 31 U.S.C. �321(b), I hereby establish a Treasury policy on the use of force. The policy set forth herein is intended to set a uniform standard for the use of deadly force and to provide broad guidelines for the Treasury Law Enforcement Bureaus. The provisions of this Order apply to all Treasury Law Enforcement Officers.
 
2. Definitions.
 
a. Treasury Law Enforcement Officer, for the purposes of this Order, includes any Treasury employee who has authority to make arrests and/or carry, or use, firearms and/or other weapons.
b. Treasury Law Enforcement Bureau, for purposes of this Order, includes any bureau or office within the Department which employs Treasury Law Enforcement Officers.
 
c. Weaponless Control Techniques includes officer presence, identification, verbal commands and physical control techniques, such as comealongs, touch pressure points, and empty hand strikes.
 
d. Intermediate Weapons are weapons other than firearms or lethal weapons with nonlethal munitions that are approved by each Treasury Law Enforcement Bureau.
 
e. Deadly Force is the use of any force that is likely to cause death or serious physical injury. Deadly force does not include force that is not likely to cause death or serious physical injury but unexpectedly results in such death or injury.
 
3. Use of Force Policy.
a. The primary consideration in the use of force is the timely and effective application of the appropriate level of force required to establish and maintain lawful control. A paramount consideration is the preservation of life and prevention of bodily injury.
b. The respective Treasury Law Enforcement Bureau heads shall set forth guidelines for weaponless control techniques, intermediate weapons and firearms or lethal weapons with non-lethal munitions, in accordance with that bureau's law enforcement mission.
 
4. Use of Deadly Force Policy.
a. Deadly Force. Treasury Law Enforcement Officers may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.
b. Fleeing, Felons. Deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of a fleeing subject if there is probable cause to believe:
 
(1) the subject has committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury or death, and
(2) the escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.
 
5. Use of Non-Deadly Force. If force other than deadly force reasonably appears to be sufficient to accomplish an arrest or otherwise accomplish the law enforcement purpose, deadly force is not necessary.
6. Verbal Warnings. If feasible and if to do so would not increase the danger to the officer or others, a verbal warning to submit to the authority of the officer shall be given prior to the use of deadly force.
 
7. Warning, Shots. Warning shots are not permitted, except as follows.
 
a. Warning shots may be used by Treasury Law Enforcement Officers in exercising the U.S. Secret Service's protective responsibilities, consistent with policy guidelines promulgated by the Director, U.S. Secret Service.
b. Warning shots may be used by the U.S. Customs Service on the open waters, consistent with policy guidelines promulgated by the Commissioner of Customs.
 
8. Vehicles.
a. Weapons may not be fired solely to disable moving vehicles, except as follows: Treasury Law Enforcement Officers, in exercising the U.S. Secret Service's protective responsibilities, may fire weapons solely to disable moving vehicles, consistent with policy guidelines promulgated by the Director, U.S. Secret Service.
b. Weapons may be fired at the driver or other occupant of a moving motor vehicle only when:
 
(1) the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person; and
(2) the public safety benefits of using such force outweigh the risks to the safety of the officer or other persons.
 
9. Vicious Animals. Deadly force may be directed against dogs or other vicious animals when necessary in self-defense or defense of others.
 
10. Training and Proficiency Standards. Each Treasury Law Enforcement Bureau shall:
 
a. require newly-appointed Treasury Law Enforcement Officers to satisfactorily complete either Basic Criminal Investigator Training or Basic Police Training, as administered by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, unless otherwise authorized by the bureau head or his/her designee, prior to being authorized to carry or use a firearm;
b. be responsible for establishing training and restraining standards which ensure that Treasury Law Enforcement Officers are proficient in the use of weaponless control techniques and intermediate weapons as authorized by that bureau; and
 
c. consistent with its mission, establish qualification and firearms familiarization standards and, at least on a semi-annual basis, require Treasury Law Enforcement Officers to establish and maintain their proficiency in the use of authorized firearms. The Secretary or his/her designee may grant an exception to this subsection upon a showing of good cause.
 
11. Treasury Law Enforcement Bureaus may supplement this policy with policy statements or guidance consistent with this policy. It is the responsibility of the Treasury Law Enforcement Bureaus to review such policy statements or guidance in a timely and comprehensive manner.

12. Rights of Third Parties. Nothing in this Order and the attached commentary is intended to create or does create an enforceable legal right or private right of action.
 
 
/S/
Robert E. Rubin
Secretary of the Treasury
OPI: US (Enforcement)
Attachment
 
Attachment
Commentary Regarding the Use of Deadly Force
I. Introduction
The Department of the Treasury (the Department) hereby establishes a uniform policy with respect to the use of deadly force. The policy and this commentary provide practical guidance for officers who must make grave decisions regarding the use of deadly force under the most trying of circumstances. The policy also is intended to maintain uniformity among the various Departmental components and to achieve uniform standards and training with respect to the use of deadly force. Although each component may still develop and conduct its own training on deadly force, the policy governs the use of deadly force under all circumstances.
The policy is the product of discussion among the various law enforcement agencies whose personnel are called upon to make decisions regarding the use of deadly force, of review of the current policies governing the use of force, and of advice of legal counsel from various Treasury and Justice Department components, including those charged with law enforcement, defense of civil actions filed against the government, enforcement of civil rights, and provision of constitutional advice. In developing the policy, it became apparent that decisional law provides only limited guidance regarding the use of deadly force.1 In addition, as a matter of principle, the Treasury Department deliberately did not formulate this policy to authorize force up to constitutional or other legal limits. 2
II. Definitions
Deadly force is the use of any force that is likely to cause death or serious physical injury. When an officer of the Department uses such force it may only be done consistent with this policy. Force that is not likely to cause death or serious physical injury, but unexpectedly results in such harm or death, is not governed by this policy.
1 Many issues addressed in the policy and this memorandum have never been addressed in reported decisions or the law remains unresolved. Courts would step outside their proper role if they formulated detailed policies with respect to the procedures governing deadly force; in contrast, the Department has the discretion to determine what the policy should be and to provide guidance to its employees with regard to these solemn issues. Cases arise in procedural postures--typically civil tort or civil rights actions, or motions to dismiss or overturn criminal charges or convictions--in which a wrongful act on the part of the government may not lead to recovery or sanctions. As a result, the court often does not reach the question of whether the use of force was wrongful.
2 The leading Fourth Amendment cases in this area are Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985) and Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).
Probable cause, reason to believe or a reasonable belief, for purposes of this policy, means facts and circumstances, including the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, known to the officer at the time of the use of deadly force, that would cause a reasonable officer to conclude that the point at issue is probably true. The reasonableness of a belief or decision must be viewed from the perspective of the officer on the scene, who may often be forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, unpredictable, and rapidly-evolving. Reasonableness is not to be viewed from the calm vantage point of hindsight.
III. Principles Use of Deadly Force
The Department of the Treasury recognizes and respects the integrity and paramount value of all human life. Consistent with that primary value, but beyond the scope of the principles articulated here, is the Department's full commitment to take all reasonable steps to prevent the need to use deadly force, as reflected in Departmental training and procedures. Yet even the best prevention policies are on occasion insufficient, as when an officer serving a warrant or conducting surveillance is confronted with a threat to his or her life. With respect to these situations and in keeping with the value of protecting all human life, the touchstone of the Department's policy regarding the use of deadly force is necessity. Use of deadly force must be objectively reasonable under all the circumstances known to the officer at the time.
The necessity to use deadly force arises when all other available means of preventing imminent and grave danger to officers or other persons have failed or would be likely to fail. Thus, employing deadly force is permissible when there is no safe alternative to using such force, and without it the officer or others would face imminent and grave danger. An officer is not required to place him or herself, another officer, a suspect, or the public in unreasonable danger of death or serious physical injury before using deadly force.
Determining whether deadly force is necessary may involve instantaneous decisions that encompass many factors, such as the likelihood that The subject will use deadly force on the officer or others if such force is not used by the officer; the officer's knowledge that the subject will likely acquiesce in arrest or recapture if the officer uses lesser force or no force at all; the capabilities of the subject; the subject's access to cover and weapons; the presence of other persons who may be at risk if force is or is not used; and the nature and the severity of the subject's criminal conduct or the danger posed.
Deadly force should never be used upon mere suspicion that a crime, no matter how serious, was committed, or simply upon the officer's determination that probable cause would support the arrest of the person being pursued or arrested for the commission of a crime. Deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of a fleeing subject if there is probable cause to believe: (1) Me subject has committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury or death; and (2) the escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.
As used in this policy, "imminent" has a broader meaning than "immediate" or "instantaneous." The concept of "imminent should be understood to be elastic, that is, involving a period of time dependent on the circumstances, rather than the fixed point of time implicit in the concept of "immediate" or "instantaneous. Thus, a subject may pose an imminent danger even if he or she is not at that very moment pointing a weapon at the officer.
IV. Lesser Means
Intermediate force. If force lesser than deadly force could reasonably be expected to accomplish the same end, such as the arrest of a dangerous fleeing subject, without unreasonably increasing the danger to the officer or to others, then it must be used. Deadly force is not permissible in such circumstances, although the reasonableness of the officer's understanding at the time deadly force was used shall be the benchmark for assessing applications of this policy.
Verbal warnings. Before using deadly force, if feasible, officers will audibly command the subject to submit to their authority. Implicit in this requirement is the concept that officers will give the subject an opportunity to submit to such command unless danger is increased thereby. However, if giving such a command would itself pose a risk of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others, it need not be given.
Warning shots and shooting to disable. Warning shots are not authorized, except (1) in furtherance of the Secret Service's protective mission, or (2) by the Customs Service on the open waters. Other than these two exceptions, discharge of a firearm is usually considered to be permissible only under the same circumstances when deadly force may be used--that is, only when necessary to prevent loss of life or serious physical injury. Warning shots themselves may pose dangers to the officer or others.
Attempts to shoot to wound or to injure are unrealistic and, because of high miss rates and poor stopping effectiveness, can prove dangerous for the officer and others. Therefore, shooting merely to disable is strongly discouraged.
Motor vehicles and their occupants. Experience has demonstrated that the use of firearms to disable moving vehicles is either unsuccessful or results in an uncontrolled risk to the safety of officers or others. Shooting to disable a moving motor vehicle is forbidden except in furtherance of the Secret Service's protective mission.
An officer who has reason to believe that a driver or occupant poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others may fire at the driver or an occupant only when such shots are necessary to avoid death or serious physical injury to the officer or another, and only if the public safety benefits of using such force reasonably appear to outweigh any risks to the officer or the public, such as from a crash, ricocheting bullets, or return fire from the subject or another person in the vehicle.
Except in rare circumstances, the danger permitting the officer to use deadly force must be by means other than the vehicle.
V. Miscellaneous
Deadly force may be directed against dogs or other vicious animals when necessary in self-defense or defense of others.
Nothing in this policy and the attached commentary is intended to create or does create an enforceable legal right or private right of action.
 
Last Updated: 11/4/2010 10:00 PM

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