Editor’s Note: The Norway Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy offers the public an opportunity to learn about law enforcement and what it does from those who do it. It began in April and each week we will feature a class from the eight-week academy.

Week 6 – Police Tactics and Use of Force – Officer Josh Daley

Oxford Police Officer Josh Daley tackled a touchy and relevant topic this week: Police Tactics and Use of Force. Beginning the class with definitions of force from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Mechanics of Arrest Restraint and Control Curriculum Guide that identified types of force from physical to excessive to deadly and so forth. It instructs when it is reasonable on an officer’s part to use each type of force when attempting to control or restrain a subject.

Daley noted that “the slightest change in a scenario can change the [officer’s] course of action.” A sort of butterfly effect. He described a triangle where each point represents a third party/public, the suspect, law enforcement. Law enforcement’s first priority, he explained, is to eliminate any risk to the public and then to put all the risk on the suspect creating the situation.

Daley demonstrated on Norway Officer John Lewis, various techniques law enforcement uses to gain control of a suspect without the use of excessive or deadly force.

In Maine, he said, every time deadly force has been used, the officer using it was 100 % exonerated. The Maine Attorney General’s Office is now studying the number of times deadly force was warranted but not used.


Officer Josh Daley, right, demonstrates compliance tactics on Officer John Lewis, that are used to bring a suspect under control. Advertiser Democrat photo by A.M. Sheehan

He told a story of an incident where he and other officers were in a situation and trying to deescalate it but where one more move (on the suspect’s part) would have forced them to use deadly force. “It was scary – we were so close to having to use deadly force … .”

He explained that law enforcement is trained to keep a safe distance, identify what they are seeing – is the situation influenced by drugs? Mental health issues? “That determines how we handle it.”

He explained that they are trained to stop the threat which means, if using deadly force, to aim for the center mass. “Shooting to wound is more dangerous to everyone involved than shooting to stop the threat.”

“But, one of our biggest fears,” Daley added, “is taking someone’s life.”

Editor’s Note: The next Citizens Police Academy will begin Tuesday, September 24.

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