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3.4.1.p.5. Procedure: Southeastern Technical College Use of Force

Southeastern Technical College(STC)strives to provide a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors through a community friendly approach that enhances safety through the visibility of security personnel, preventive patrol, positive conflict resolution, and crime prevention and awareness programs. The Director of Safety and Security is responsible for collaborating with local law enforcement and various community organizations in fulfilling this procedure.

STC recognizes that the use of force by STC security guards requires constant evaluation.  Even at its lowest level, the use of force is a serious responsibility.  The purpose of this procedure is to provide security personnel of Southeastern Technical College with guidelines on the reasonable use of force.

1. Non-lethal force; amount of non-lethal force to be reasonably used:

Non-lethal force is defined as any physical effort used to control, restrain or overcome the resistance of another. The reasonable application of force requires awareness of the facts and circumstances of each particular situation, including the severity of the incident and whether the individual poses an immediate threat to the safety of the security guards, Southeastern Technical College employees, students, or visitors.

This procedure will be in compliance with Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A) 16-3-21 (Use of force in defense of self or others)in conjunction with the use of force continuum utilized by law enforcement agencies.

Security officers are expected to handle every situation possible without any use of force but in instances where non-lethal force is necessary, the ultimate objective is to minimize injury to everyone involved in and around the incident. Southeastern Technical College security guards shall use only the amount of non-lethal force that is objectively reasonable, given the known facts and circumstances to effectively bring an incident under control.

The reasonableness of the use of force should be evaluated on whether or not an individual poses an immediate threat to the safety of a Southeastern Technical College employee, student or visitor while located on any of the Southeastern Technical College campuses.    

A number of factors will be taken into consideration when determining whether or not non-lethal force should be used or if the amount of force was reasonable.  These factors include, but are not limited to:

(a) The conduct of the individual being confronted by the security guard at the time of the incident.
(b) The influence of drugs/alcohol.
(c) The proximity of any weapons.
(d) The time and circumstances permitting, the availability of other options (what options are reasonably available to the security guard under the circumstances.
(e) The reason for contact with the individual.
(f) The potential for injury to Southeastern Technical College employees, students and/or visitors.
(g) Any other exigent circumstances.

2. Reporting any use of force:

In the event a Security Guard has to use any level of force against an individual located on any Southeastern Technical College campus, local law enforcement along with the Director of Safety and Security will be notified.  The Director of Safety and Security will report the Use of Force Incident to the President and Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness. 

In all instances when any level of force is used against an individual, the security guard administering the force shall complete the Southeastern Technical College Campus Crime Accident/Incident Form and attach a copy to it the local law enforcement incident report. All incident forms will be provided and maintained by the Director of Safety and Security.    (See Form Below)

Any use of force resulting in injury should be reported to the Department of Administrative Services, Risk Management Division.

3. Arrest authority; local law enforcement role: 

Southeastern Technical College will employ Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certified and non-certified security guards.  Security guards do not have arrest authority and should not attempt to make an arrest of any individual; all arrests will be made by local law enforcement.

4. Firearms: 

Authorization to carry a firearm must be given in writing by the President.  Only those security guards/designated employees who are P.O.S.T. certified will be authorized to carry an authorized firearm while performing his/her daily duties.  Authorization is contingent upon maintenance of current and active P.O.S.T. certification and annual completion of twenty (20) hours of training to include firearms and lethal force training.  Security guards are required to report any changes or proposed changes in their certification status to the Director of Safety and Security.

Under no circumstances are non-P.O.S.T. certified security guards/employees allowed to carry a firearm; the use of any other security apparatus by security guards that is designed for subduing another person (i.e. chemical agents, taser, ASP baton etc.) is prohibited unless authorized in writing by the President of Southeastern Technical College.

Security personnel/designated employees who have been authorized to carry a firearm will only exhibit the firearm in the following circumstances:

(a) For maintenance of the firearm;
(b) To secure the firearm;
(c) During training exercises, practice, or qualification with the firearm;
(d) When circumstances create a reasonable belief that it may be necessary for the officer to use the firearm;
(e) When circumstances create a reasonable belief that display of a firearm as an element of constructive authority helps establish or maintain control in a potentially dangerous situation in an effort to discourage resistance and ensure safety.

Security guards/designated employees shall not discharge a weapon as a signal for help or as a warning shot. Security guards/designated employees shall not discharge a weapon at or from a moving vehicle unless the occupants of the vehicle are using deadly force against the officer or another person and there is no alternative means of protecting life.

  5. Use of lethal force and reporting:

Use of lethal force is authorized when a P.O.S.T certified security guard/designated employees reasonably believes such action is immediately necessary to protect the security guard or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.  If feasible, the security guard should identify him/herself and state his/her intention to shoot before using a firearm. 

P.O.S.T certified security personnel/designated employees shall not resort to the use of lethal force in the following instances:

(a) The security guard/employee believes that an alternative to the use of lethal force will avert or eliminate an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, and achieve a safe situation/environment with no increased risk to the security guard or another person.
(b) The security guard/employee shall not use lethal force to subdue persons whose actions are only destructive to property.
(c) Deadly force shall not be used against persons whose conduct is injurious only to themselves.

Adopted: August 15, 2016
Reviewed: December 12, 2016; December 12, 2017; January 17, 2019; January 16, 2020; December 13, 2021;