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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 01-584


Title 255--LOCAL


Revision of Adult Probation/Parole Department Firearms Policy; No. 74MI99

[31 Pa.B. 1846]

Administrative Order No. 12-2001

   And Now, this 21st day of March, 2001, it is hereby Ordered and Decreed that, effective thirty (30) days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, that the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas hereby Revises the Adult Probation/Parole Department Firearms Policy applicable to all members of the Carbon County Adult Probation Department since its inception on December 13, 1999.

   The Carbon County District Court Administrator is Ordered and Directed to do the following:

   1.  File seven (7) certified copies of this Administrative Order with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   2.  File two (2) certified copies and one (1) diskette with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

   3.  File one (1) certified copy with the Pennsylvania Criminal Procedural Rules Committee.

   4.  Forward one (1) copy for publication in the Carbon County Law Journal.

   5.  Forward one (1) copy to the Carbon County Law Library.

   6.  Keep continuously available for public inspection copies of the Order and Rule in the Clerk of Court's Office.

By the Court

President Judge


Purpose:  To establish policy and procedure governing the administration of the Carbon County Adult Probation/Parole Department's firearms program.

Applicability:  To the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer, the Deputy Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer and all Adult Probation/Parole Officers.

Definitions:  As utilized in this document, the following definitions shall apply:

   1.  Arrest:  The physical taking of a person into custody and restraining them until they can be brought before the court to answer the violations alleged against them.

   2.  Attack management:  Shielding, distance and movement.

   3.  Attack potential:  The immediate and simultaneous existence of intent, weapon, delivery system and target.

   4.  Center of mass:  The center of the three largest vital areas available, upper torso, brain and pelvic girdle.

   5.  Certification:  The assignment of a certification number to a probation/parole officer after successful completion of a mandatory basic training course from the County Probation and Parole Officers' Firearm Education and Training Commission.

   6.  Deadly force:  As defined in Pennsylvania Crimes Code, 18 P. S. § 501, which states: ''Force, which, under circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.''

   7.  Defense of life rule:  The use of deadly force only in those circumstances in which a person cannot safely disengage and where deadly force is required to stop and render a person incapable of continuing life threatening actions.

   8.  Delivery system:  The opportunity to place someone in jeopardy.

   9.  Displaying a firearm:  The clearing from a holster (unholstering) a firearm or brandishing a holstered weapon in a manner in which a reasonable person could perceive a use of force threat.

   10.  Excessive force:  Force, which is unreasonable in the performance of an act otherwise lawful; or, force used in making an arrest in excess of the force reasonably necessary to effect control of a subject.

   11.  Firearm:  Any pistol or revolver with a barrel less than twelve inches, any shotgun with a barrel less than twenty-four inches, or any rifle with a barrel less than fifteen inches (See 18 Pa.C.S. § 6102).

   12.  Force:  The impetus of power; physical power of strength, exerted against a person and employed without their consent for the purpose of controlling the person while maintaining a position of advantage.

   13.  Handgun:  A revolver or pistol designed to be fired with one hand.

   14.  Impairment: A condition, which can affect judgment, reaction time or motor skills as it may affect the ability to handle a firearm safely.

   15.  Intent:  The means to place someone in jeopardy.

   16.  Magazine:  A receptacle where rounds are stored for use in a pistol.

   17.  Peace officer:  Any person who by virtue of his office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for offenses, whether that duty extends to all offenses or is limited to specific offenses, or any person on active State duty pursuant to section 311, of the Act of May 27, 1949 (P. L. 1903, No. 568), also known as ''The Military Code of 1949.'' Also, see 18 Pa.C.S. § 501 as applied to probation officers in 61 Pa.C.S. § 309.1.

   18.  Pistol:  A semi-automatic handgun.

   19.  Preclusion:  Fast assessment to determine if a lower level of force would be inappropriate, ineffective and to disengage is not possible.

   20.  Self-defense:  That action taken to nullify an attack when based on a reasonably founded belief that either death, serious bodily injury or other injury will occur because of the existence of a clear and present danger. Self-defense may be personal or instituted for the protection of another person.

   21.  Serious bodily injury:  As defined in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, 18 P. S. § 2301, which states: ''Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.''

   22.  Target:  A person or thing at which force may be directed or used.

   23.  Target identification:  An empirical verification of a person or thing at which force may be directed or used.

   24.  Target isolation:  The ability to segregate a target from surrounding people or objects.

   25.  Use of force:  As defined by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, 18 P. S. § 508, Use of Force in Law Enforcement, which states:

   ''(a)  Peace Officer's Use of Force in Making Arrest:

   (1)  A peace officer, or any person whom he has summoned or directed to assist him, need not retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance to the arrest. He is justified in the use of any force, which he believes to be necessary to effect the arrest, and of any force, which he believes to be necessary to defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest. However, he is justified in using deadly force only when he believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or such other person, or when he believes both that:

   (i)  such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape; and

   (ii)  the person to be arrested has committed or attempted a forcible felony or is attempting to escape and possesses a deadly weapon, or otherwise indicates that he will endanger human life or inflict serious bodily injury unless arrested without delay.

   (2)  A peace officer making an arrest pursuant to an invalid warrant is justified in the use of any force which he would be justified in using if the warrant were valid, unless he knows that the warrant is invalid.''

   26.  Use of force model:  The Use of Force Paradigm for Enforcement and Corrections as developed and defined by John Desmedt of the Protective Safety System.

   27.  Weapon:  Includes handguns and firearms. It also includes any other instruments of offensive or defensive combat use or designated as being capable of causing injury to another person.

   28.  Weapon-carrying officer:  A county probation/parole officer who is authorized to carry a weapon in connection with performance of the duties of his employment.

Authority and Policy Statement

Authority:  This policy statement has been developed pursuant to and in accordance with statutory requirements, local rules established by the Carbon County Adult Probation/Parole Department and through the formal adoption by the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas through administrative court order.

Policy statement:  The Carbon County Adult Probation/Parole Department recognizes that an element of danger does exist in dealing with criminal offenders and will provide adult probation/parole officers with the opportunity to carry a firearm in order to protect themselves from serious bodily injury or deadly force. The consideration in the use of force is for the preservation of life and physical safety of the officer, the public and the offender.

Statutory Authority of Adult Probation Officers

Authority of Probation and Parole Officers:  Probation and Parole Officers employed by the Court of Common Pleas enjoy police powers over the offenders under their supervision. Section I of Act 277 of 1963 and amended Act 117 (61 P. S. § 309.1) vests probation officers with such police powers. The Act states:

   ''Probation Officers heretofore or hereafter appointed by any Court of record of this Commonwealth are hereby declared to be peace officers, and shall have police powers and authority throughout the Commonwealth to arrest with or without warrant, writ, rule of process, any person on probation, intermediate punishment or parole under the supervision of said Court for failing to report as required by the terms of his/her probation, intermediate punishment or parole or for any other violation of his/her probation, intermediate punishment or parole.''

Peace Officer:  In 1973, with the adoption of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, a peace officer was defined in 18 P. S. § 501 as:

   ''. . . any person who by virtue of his public office or public employment is vested by law to make arrests for offenses whether that duty extends to all offenses or is limited to specific offenses . . .''.

   The police powers granted to probation and parole officers are limited. Those powers extend only to persons subject to the jurisdiction of the sentencing common pleas court or as may be granted by another jurisdiction through an Interstate Compact Agreement (61 P. S. § 321 et seq.) or Intercounty Compact Agreement. Therefore, the police power of probation and parole officers differs in scope from that of the police officer.

Arrest Authority:  Adult probation/parole officers are empowered to make arrests; however, those powers extend only to offenders under the jurisdiction of the department placed on probation, parole or intermediate punishment (See 61 P. S. § 309.1).

   Use of Force Policy

   Jurisdiction to act:  The use of any force by adult probation/parole officers will be justified only when the department has jurisdiction. The jurisdiction to act as an authorized adult probation/parole officer is limited to those situations involving offenders under the direct supervision of the department and/or those individuals that are encountered by officers as a direct result of the supervision of the offender.

   Purpose of force:  The objective of the use of force by adult probation/parole officers is to establish and maintain lawful control in a timely manner, to minimize the potential for injury to parties directly involved, as well as others. The degree of force authorized is that degree necessary to establish lawful control in a timely manner. This degree of force depends upon the degree of danger or resistance perceived by the officer.

   Use of force model:  The department formally adopts, subscribes and employs The Use of Force Paradigm for Enforcement and Corrections as developed and defined by John Desmedt of The Protective Safety Systems.

   Timeliness:  Timely means on time and not late. Officers need not wait for injury to occur to themselves or others before taking appropriate action to prevent injury.

   Control of the subject:  Control of the subject must be established for the safety of the officer and others in response to perceived danger and when necessary to accomplish duties authorized by law.

   Use of physical force:  Physical force is to be used only in circumstances of justifiable self-protection or the protection of other persons. Adult probation/parole officers should use their discretion in using physical force. When possible, officers should consider withdrawing from the situation and securing assistance. If physical force is used, the officer shall only use the minimum force necessary to control the situation.

   Officer Identification:  If circumstances permit, the officer must make their identity as an adult probation/parole officer known.

   Verbal Warning:  Whenever possible, the officer must exercise persuasion, advice and warning before using physical force. If such verbal control would be (or is found to be) ineffective, the officer may use physical force to accomplish a lawful purpose.

   Use of Force Considerations:  Officers shall consider the following when employing force:

   1.  Subject's immediate threat to safety.

   2.  Subject's active resistance or attempt to escape.

   3.  Severity of the crime involved.

   4.  An officer's ability to disengage.

   5.  The circumstances existing at the moment force is used.

   6.  The tactics employed by an officer that may have caused a use of force decision to become necessary.

Reasonable Control Guidelines:  When using force, officers must:

   1.  Match force to the subject's resistance.

   2.  Correctly apply techniques and equipment appropriate to that force level.

   3.  Apply alternative options if tactics fail to establish control.

Use of Excessive Force:  The use of excessive force is prohibited by Federal and State laws. Violation of these laws can carry both civil and criminal penalties. Officers will be held accountable for the use of force.

   Administration of First Aid:  An officer who uses force on an offender and injuries result, the officer shall:

   1.  Contact the Carbon County Communications Center for assistance from medical personnel and law enforcement personnel.

   2.  Contact the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer or immediate supervisor.

   3.  Render first aid to the injured subject. Officers must remember that they are responsible for administering first aid treatment to an injured subject.

Use of Force Test:  The use of force is based upon determining what force a reasonable officer at the scene would have used under the circumstances (See Graham v. Conner, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 1989).

   Deadly Force Policy

   Serious Bodily Injury:  The operational definition of serious bodily injury shall be defined by the Use of Force Model as:

   1.  An open gash or wound;

   2.  Major broken bones; and/or

   3.  Damage to internal organs.

Use of Deadly Force:  The use of deadly force by officers shall be strictly limited to defensive situations. If appropriate, officers shall exhaust all other types of force before resorting to the utilization of deadly force.

   Justifiable Use of Deadly Force:  When the use of deadly force is justified, officers discharging weapons shall not shoot to kill nor shoot to wound, but rather to stop the action by causing the instant incapacitation of the subject. For maximum stopping effectiveness and to minimize the danger to innocent bystanders, officers should shoot at center body mass.

   Offensive Posture:  Officers shall not utilize deadly force in an offensive posture to effect the apprehension of those persons who commit violations of probation, parole or intermediate punishment, or any other law amounting to summary, misdemeanor or felony offenses, which do not present the threat of death or serious bodily injury. Nothing contained in this policy statement shall preclude the use of deadly force for self-defense, when warranted.

   Verbal Warning:  When practical, and if the time and opportunity exists in a deadly force situation, officers shall identify themselves as adult probation/parole officers and give some type of warning prior to the use of deadly force.

   Requirements for Righteous Deadly Force:  Officers shall consider the following:

   1.  Accurately assessing a subject's imminent potential for attacking in a life-threatening manner (attack potential); the immediate and simultaneous existence of intent, weapon, delivery system and target.

   2.  Articulating why an officer feared for their life or someone else's when deadly force action was taken.

   3.  Explaining why a lower level of force was inappropriate, ineffective and disengagement was not possible.

Target Identification and Isolation:  Officers shall consider the following factors when making a decision to use deadly force:

   1.  Officers facing a decision to use deadly force must be aware of any innocent third parties that may be present in or near the line of fire.

   2.  Officers are prohibited from discharging their firearms when they cannot identify their target and it appears reasonably and likely that an innocent person(s) may be injured, unless the prohibition in discharging the firearm is likely to result in the immediate death or serious bodily injury of the officer or another person.

   3.  Officers shall establish target identification and target isolation.

Use of Excessive Force:  See Page 5 of this policy statement.

   Administration of First Aid:  See Page 5 of this policy statement.

   Disengagement:  Whenever possible, and if the time and opportunity exists, officers shall utilize shielding, distance and movement (attack management) to disengage from a situation before resorting to deadly force.

   Warning Shots:  Warning shots are strictly prohibited under all circumstances.

   Rescue Shots:  Officers may use a rescue shot for the purpose of identifying location and/or acquiring appropriate assistance.

   Authorization to Carry Firearms

   Authorization to Carry a Firearm:  All adult probation/parole officers with peace officer status can request authorization to become a weapon-carrying officer (See Page 18 of this policy statement).

   Requirements to Carry a Firearm:  The department shall authorize officers to carry firearms for defensive purposes when the following criteria is met:

   1.  Successful completion of a criminal background investigation.

   2.  Successful completion of a psychological examination.

   3.  Successful completion of the Basic Orientation Academy for Probation/Parole Officers.

   4.  A written request from the Adult Probation/Parole Officer to the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer to carry a firearm.

   5.  Successful completion of a first aid and CPR course.

   6.  Successful completion of a defensive tactics and Use of Force course.

   7.  Successful completion and certification from the County Probation and Parole Officers' Firearm Education and Training Commission.

   8.  Ability to demonstrate a proficiency in the knowledge, handling, and safety of firearms.

Issuance of Authority to Carry a Firearm:  The process of requesting authorization to carry a firearm shall be reviewed by the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer who shall consider the following:

   1.  Demonstrated need to carry a firearm in the performance of their official duties.

   2.  Physical and emotional condition of the officer.

   3.  Presence of alcohol-related problems.

   4.  Signs of emotional instability.

   5.  Officer under the care of a psychologist or psychiatrist.

   6.  Current or past disciplinary problems with the officer.

   7.  Completion of all requirements as outlined in this policy statement.

Final Approval:  The Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer will make the final decision. The refusal of a request for authorization to carry a firearm is not appealable. Unless otherwise instructed, an officer may reapply for authorization every six months (See Page 19 of this policy statement).

   Officers Not Requesting Authorization To Carry:  All officers that were hired prior to the implementation date of this policy statement will have the option to carry a firearm. If an officer decides not to carry a firearm, then he/she must complete the Request Not To Carry a Firearm form and return it to the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer. Nothing in this policy statement shall prohibit an officer from requesting authorization to carry at a later time (See Page 20 of this policy statement).

   Relinquishing Authorization:  Once an officer is authorized to carry a firearm, that officer cannot request relinquishment of that authorization. The decision to carry a firearm is a difficult and moral decision that must be considered carefully by the officer before requesting authorization.

   Condition of Employment:  After the adoption of this policy statement, any new employee will be required to carry a firearm in the performance of their official duties.

   Issuance of the Firearm:  Once the officer has completed all training and fulfilled all agency requirements, the Chief Adult Probation Officer shall issue a firearm to the officer and execute the firearm issuance form (See Page 21 of this policy statement).

   Firearms Not To Be Carried Without a License:  Since adult parole/probation officers are declared peace officers with police powers to arrest offenders in violation of probation, parole or intermediate punishment, a license to carry a firearm during the performance of their official duties is not required. However, the department recommends that all weapon-carrying officers obtain a license to carry a weapon. The officer shall absorb the costs of the permit. Also, according to 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106, states, No person shall carry a firearm in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person, except in his place of abode or fixed place of business, without a license, except, constables, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen of this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions, or other law-enforcement officers.

   Conditions for Carrying a Firearm

   Conditions for Carrying Firearms:  All weapon-carrying officers shall carry their firearm concealed and under the following circumstances:

   1.  During an arrest situation.

   2.  During a search and seizure situation.

   3.  While conducting field contacts, including after-hour investigations by assigned on-call personnel.

   4.  Range qualification and related training, including practice shooting.

   5.  To and from employment.

Office and Courthouse Setting:  While in the office, all weapon-carrying officers shall secure their firearm in the gun security cabinet within the adult probation office. Officers shall be prohibited from carrying their firearm while in the office, unless entering or exiting the building to conduct fieldwork.

   Courthouse Setting:  While in the Courthouse or Courthouse Annex Building, all weapon-carrying officers shall secure their firearm in the gun security cabinet within the adult probation office. Officers shall be prohibited from carrying their firearm in the courthouse or courthouse annex building, unless entering or exiting the building to conduct fieldwork.

   Concealment of Firearm:  Firearms are to be carried in a concealed manner on the officer, under an article of clothing. The following exception will apply:

   1.  When participating in an arrest situation, the officer may position the weapon in an unconcealed manner to enhance accessibility.

Displaying a Firearm

Displaying a Firearm:  Firearms shall not be displayed or drawn for any other reason than described below:

   1.  During an arrest situation.

   2.  Justifiable self-protection or the protection of others

   3.  When the officer perceives an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury, which may include an attacking animal.

   4.  Cleaning the firearm, storage and inspection.

   5.  Range qualification or practice shooting.

   6.  Storage at a correctional facility, courthouse or other secure facility.

Handling of Firearms

Handling of a Firearm:  The continued authorization to carry a firearm will depend on the following:

   1.  The officer's compliance with agency policy and procedure.

   2.  The officer's ability to handle the firearm in a safe manner.

   3.  The officer's ability to conduct themselves in a safe and proper manner while in possession of the firearm.

   4.  Except for general maintenance, storage or authorized training, officers shall not draw or exhibit their firearms unless circumstances create strong reasonable belief that it may be necessary to lawfully use the weapon.

   5.  In those situations, the officer shall exercise a reasonable standard of care with the drawn weapon. Reasonable care includes: pointing the muzzle in a safe direction; keeping the trigger finger outside the trigger guard; and under no circumstances shall a weapon capable of double action be cocked for single action use.

   6.  The use or handling of a firearm by an officer, on or off-duty, in a careless or imprudent manner or the unjustified endangering of human life by a firearm in violation of this policy statement is strictly forbidden and shall result in a disciplinary investigation and may result in the revocation of authorization to carry a firearm.

   7.  The department does not authorize or recognize the carrying of an agency issued firearm during off-duty hours.

Firearm Safety Considerations:  The following regulations apply to all firearms and situations, whether on or off the range, at home or conducting probation/parole activities:

   1.  Always consider all firearms to be loaded.

   2.  Never point the muzzle of the firearm across anything, which you are unwilling to shoot.

   3.  Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

   4.  Be certain of your target, target identification and target isolation.

   5.  When you take a gun from its holster or storage for any other purpose than necessary use, unload it and check to see that it is unloaded three times.

   6.  A gun is not a toy, do not play with it.

   7.  Do not use or possess a firearm when drinking or using other substances that alter perception or disposition.

   8.  Resist the temptation to show off your firearm.

   9.  Do not loan your firearm to anyone else.

   10.  When passing a pistol to another individual, make sure the weapon is unloaded, magazine removed, action open, handing it gun grip first.

Storage of Firearms and Ammunition

Storing the Firearm:  All weapon-carrying officers shall store their firearm as follows:

   1.  In the Field:  When performing fieldwork, firearms are to be concealed on the officer.

   2.  In an Automobile:  Firearms shall not be left in a vehicle, trunk, glove compartment, briefcase or other areas of storage, except under the following circumstances.

   a.  When the officer is entering an institution in which a firearms locker is not available.

   b.  When the officer must appear in court in which the courthouse does not allow entrance of an armed officer and there is no firearms locker available.

   c.  Should circumstances arise requiring the emergency or brief storage of a weapon, the containment area must be stationary, locked and be inaccessible to all except the officer.

   3.  In the Office:  For purposes of office security and safety, officers are not permitted to carry their firearm in the office, unless entering and exiting to conduct fieldwork. When weapon-carrying officers are assigned to the office for duty days, the firearm must be stored in the gun security cabinet unloaded, with the key being secured by the officer. Under no circumstances are firearms to be stored in desks or any other location in the office. If weapon-carrying officers do not take their firearms home after normal business hours, then the weapon must be secured in the gun security cabinet, unloaded.

   4.  In the Courthouse/Annex Building:  For purposes of courthouse security and safety, officers shall secure their firearm in the gun security cabinet within the adult probation office unloaded. Officers shall be prohibited from carrying their firearm in the courthouse or annex building, unless entering or exiting the building to conduct fieldwork.

   5.  Correctional Facilities/Other Courthouses:  When officers enter correctional facilities, other courthouses or any other secure facility, the officer shall secure their weapon in accordance with the facility's regulations.

   6.  At Home:  See Page 11 of this policy statement.

   7.  Interstate Travel:  When traveling outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, officers are not permitted to carry their firearm into the neighboring state.

   8.  In a Public Rest Room:  The officer shall remove his/her duty belt with the firearm in the holster and place the duty belt around the officer's neck. This procedure will ensure that the officer's equipment will not be stolen or forgotten.

Storage of Ammunition:  When in the office, the firearm will be unloaded and the ammunition secured separately from the firearm in the gun security cabinet, accessible only to authorized personnel. When at home, the ammunition shall be removed from the firearm and stored in a separate location.

   Unattended Firearm:  Under no circumstances shall the officer leave his duty weapon unattended while in the office, field, home or any other unsecured locations.

   Home Safety

   Firearm at Home:  All weapon-carrying officers may take their firearms home after normal business hours.

   Home Safety:   It is essential that the officer assigned to carry a firearm instruct their family members in the proper use and handling of the firearm. It should be made perfectly clear that the firearm is not to be handled by anyone other than the officer or a mature adult. The officer is responsible to educate his family members on the safety and proper handling of the firearm. All firearms should be kept out of the reach of children and immature or irresponsible adults and stored in a secure area. Older children may be given gun instruction with the extent of the training being dependent on the child's maturity and judgment of the parents.

   Storage at Home:  Immediately upon entering the residence, the firearm should be unloaded, the magazine removed and the firearm and equipment stored in a secure area. Officers are encouraged to store the ammunition, magazines and the firearm in different locations. The firearm must not be left unattended and accessible while in the residence. It shall be the responsibility of the officer to ensure that the firearm is properly secured in a locked cabinet or drawer. The firearm should be kept beyond the reach of small children.

   Loaded Firearm:  Firearms shall not remain loaded while in the residence. The officer shall immediately unload the weapon when they enter the residence and all ammunition should be kept in a safe location away from the weapon.

   Trigger Guards:   As a suggestion, a trigger guard lock will secure the firearm from accidental discharge. The key to the trigger guard should be kept on the officer's person at all times.

   Unattended Weapon at Home:  The officer shall not leave his duty weapon unattended while in their residence. The firearm must be secured at all times.

   Loading and Unloading Firearms

   Loading Firearms in the Office:  The agency has provided all weapon-carrying officers with a gun barrel to load and unload their weapons. When officers are preparing for fieldwork, the officer shall load his firearm in the gun barrel located within the agency as follows:

   1.  The officer shall notify all agency personnel that he will be loading his weapon.

   2.  Before loading the weapon, the officer shall clear the entire room of other agency personnel.

   3.  The officer shall point the barrel of the weapon into the center of the gun barrel and load the weapon.

   4.  No other agency personnel shall be permitted in the area until the weapon is loaded and secured in the officer's holster.

Unloading Firearms in the Office:  When officers return from the field, they shall unload their weapon as outlined above.

   Discharge of Firearms

   Discharge of a Firearm:  The discharge of a firearm is permitted only when an officer reasonably believes that he/she or another person is at risk for serious bodily injury or death and that the deadly force employed by the officer is reasonable and necessary and not excessive by comparison to the type of resistance offered by the offender.

   Unholstering:  See Page 9 of this policy statement (Displaying a Firearm).

   A Discharged Weapon:  Any unholstering, discharge or firing of a weapon, other than in a training program, qualification or off-duty practice, must be reported immediately to a supervisor by the officer who discharged the weapon.

   Involved Officer(s) Responsibilities:  Any time an officer is engaged in an incident, which involves the discharge of a firearm, whether by an agency officer or another person, the following procedure shall apply:

   1.  Immediately following the incident, secure the scene and make every effort to preserve potentially pertinent evidence.

   2.  Contact the Carbon County Communications Center for the police department that has jurisdiction and medical personnel, if injuries resulted to any persons at the scene.

   3.  Notify the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer or his designee, if unavailable.

Written Incident Report:  The officer must file a written incident report immediately after the discharge to their immediate supervisor. The officer shall provide the exact location and time of the incident; a detailed description of the incident; names and addresses of witnesses; reasons for discharging the weapon; names of any investigating police officers; and any other information that may be necessary in understanding and investigating the incident. However, if a police investigation has been initiated, the officer(s) involved with the incident will not need to file a written report at this time. The Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer will obtain a copy of the police report.

   Surrendering the Weapon:  The officer shall surrender the weapon involved to their immediate supervisor or a requesting police officer involved in the investigation. The officer's weapon shall be confiscated and temporarily suspended until the investigation is completed.

   Incidents and Allegations:  It is the responsibility of the officer carrying a firearm to report immediately to a supervisor any incidents or situations that may result in allegations being made or complaints filed regarding the use or displaying of a firearm. Other staff that observes an unusual situation involving a firearm must verbally report to an immediate supervisor. The Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer may request a written report.

   Departmental Investigation:  The Chief Adult Probation Officer shall receive prompt notification of the incident so that an investigation can be initiated to verify the factual basis surrounding the situation.

   Shooting At Moving Vehicles

   Shooting at Moving Vehicle Guidelines:  Officers shall not discharge a firearm at or from a moving vehicle except under the following circumstances:

   1.  As a last resort measure of self-defense when the subject is using deadly force by means of other than the vehicle.

   2.  As a last resort measure of self-defense when a vehicle is being driven in a manner deliberately intended to kill or injure an officer or other party.

Limitations and Consequences Shooting at a Moving Vehicle:  In deciding to shoot at a moving vehicle, officers must take into account the following limitations and consequences:

   1.  The difficulty of hitting a moving target.

   2.  The possibility of ricochets striking unintended targets.

   3.  Population densities.

   4.  The difficulty in penetrating the automobile body and/or steel belted radial tires.

   5.  The inability to stop a vehicle's momentum even when the target actor is hit.

   6.  The possibility of damage or injury, which might result from causing the vehicle to go out of control.

Damaged, Lost or Stolen Firearms

Damaged Firearm:  Any officer who suspects that his/her issued firearm is damaged shall immediately notify the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer. A potentially damaged firearm shall not be carried. The firearm shall be secured and sent to a certified armorer for repairs. During this time, the officer will not carry a firearm until the firearm can be repaired.

Lost or Stolen Firearm:  The loss or theft of a firearm shall be immediately reported to the Chief Adult Probation/Parole Officer. This report must be made within twenty-four (24) hours of occurrence, either by telephone or in person. The initial notification will be followed immediately by a written report describing the circumstances surrounding the loss or theft of the firearm. The employee must take immediate and reasonable action to recover the firearm and obtain all information available to aid in the investigation and recovery of the firearm. Employees must seek assistance from the appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as possible.

Security and Accountability:  Officers are directly responsible for the safety and security of authorized firearms. Officers may be required to reimburse the County for the costs of lost, stolen or damaged firearms if:

   1.  An official investigation establishes that the officer is negligent or otherwise at fault,

   2.  It is administratively decided that reimbursement is to be made.

Disciplinary Action:  Failure to safeguard or otherwise secure firearms may result in disciplinary action. Furthermore, the officer's authorization to carry may be suspended and he/she referred for appropriate levels of training.

   Requirement to Notify the Department of Physical and Pharmacological Conditions Affecting the Ability to a Carry Firearm

   Impairment:   It shall be the responsibility of the weapon-carrying officer to notify their immediate supervisor of any physical or pharmacological conditions causing physical and/or emotional impairment.

   Prescriptive Medication:  In those instances when an officer is prescribed a medication for an illness or medical condition, it shall be the responsibility of the weapon-carrying officer to notify their immediate supervisor. When an officer believes and/or medical personnel indicate that a medication may affect judgment and/or reaction time, authorization to carry a firearm shall be suspended. Authorization shall be reinstated upon the cessation of the medication and its effects or with a physician's ruling that the medication's potential contraindications would be aversive to handling a firearm safely and proficiently.

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