Police officers employed by the Denver Police Department (DPD) are permitted to apply force so as long as the degree of force is “necessary” and “reasonable under the circumstances,” according to the Department’s Use of Force Policy. Sometimes, force is necessary when a suspect is resisting or becomes combative towards an officer of the law. While it is evident that an officer may need to apply force when responding to certain types of situations, it is important for civilians to understand the Department’s Use of Force Policy more in-depth so that they can identify when an officers’ level of force is considered excessive.

To help civilians of Denver better under the DPD’s Use of Force Policy, below are a few Q&As that address many of the questions individuals often have.


  1. Can police apply force when a suspect is resisting?

While Denver police officers are permitted to apply a level of force that is deemed reasonable when a suspect is resisting, the Department’s Use of Force Policy specifically states that officers “must bear in mind that there are many reasons a suspect may be resisting arrest or may be unresponsive.” Some of the reasons why individuals might resist an officers’ commands include:

  • The individual may be incapable of “understanding the gravity of the situation.”
  • Their reasoning ability may be affected by a medical condition, mental impairment, developmental disability, physical limitation, language, drug interaction, or emotional crisis.”


Essentially, what this means is that an officer should assess the situation and the reason for why a suspect is resisting before resorting to applying physical force that could potentially harm an individual.


  1. What methods should an officer use when encountering a violent, assaultive, or resisting individual?

If an officer is making an arrest, he/she should “use advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics and recognize that an officer may withdraw to a position that is tactically more secure or allows an officer greater distance in order to consider or deploy a greater variety of force options.”


  1. Should officers refrain from applying force when an individual becomes compliant?

The DPD’s policy states that when a suspect is under control, “the degree of force should be de-escalated accordingly.”


When an officer comes in contact with an individual or suspect and he/she determines force is required, the officer should “only select a level of force that is within the range of “objectively reasonable” options.” If a Denver officer applies a level of force that is greater than what is necessary, he/she can be recognized for applying excessive force.


What should an individual do if they were harmed by a Denver, CO officer who applied excessive force?


Because it is unlawful for an officer to apply excessive force, the individual who has been harmed should contact a police misconduct lawyer in Denver, CO to become more informed on what their legal options are. Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC is a police brutality law firm in Denver, CO that can help a victim of excessive force explore the legal remedies that might be available to them to recognize an officer for their act of misconduct.


Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC can be reached at:


333 W. Hampden Avenue, #420B

Englewood, CO 80110

Phone: 720-923-2333

Website: www.btlawdenver.com