Use of Force
Officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force that reasonably appears necessary in a particular situation, with limited information and in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.
The collection and distribution of use of force data is important for transparency purposes as well as to provide a mechanism to assess any deficiencies in training or procedures. Officers rely heavily on their training and experience to resolve situations without having to resort to use of force. As the statistics show, this is often very successful.
In 2020, the Menasha Police Department responded to 11,245 calls for service. Of all the calls for service, 63 required some application of force. This correlates to force being used 0.56 percent of all interactions, or approximately once every 5.79 days. An examination of each of these incidents took place within one month of their occurrence. Lt. Thorn and Lt. Lenss were the primary supervisors responsible for oversight of the use of force review. Other department administrators, department DAAT and tactical instructors were consulted for clarification or guidance on certain matters in their area of expertise if needed.
Use of Force Rates
Of the 63 incidents, all incidents were found to be in compliance with City of Menasha policies, procedures and established best practices. Though all incidents were found to be in compliance of policy, five incidents needed further clarification in the documentation or led to training opportunities with the involved officer/s. These training opportunities included officer verbalization techniques, control of suspects and Taser use reviews. All Menasha officers also participated in two different use of force training sessions in 2020 put on by the department’s instructors.
In 2020, we continued collecting data on officer and suspect injuries in relation to use of force incidents. Of the 63 incidents, there were 6 incidents of possible injuries to the suspect and 8 incidents of officers being injured. Neither suspects nor officers received any major injuries during these incidents. Officer injuries included abrasions, scratches, road rash, cuts, a bloody nose and a possible sprained knee. Suspect injuries included cuts, bruising and complaints of pain to the back, wrist, hip, leg, chest and shoulder areas. No serious injuries were found to be associated with any of the suspect complaints.
In April of 2020 we also began documenting in the state database “Badger TraCS” any use of force that involved discharging a firearm, officer involved death or causing great bodily harm. There were no incidents in 2020 involving our officers that rose to the level requiring a report to the state.
Please find a copy of our Use of Force Policy here.