What Happens When Activists Get Use Of Force Training?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In a letter to the editor that we printed in issue #273 [1/14/15], Sgt. Casey Bokavich of the Redding (CA) PD mentioned that his agency was preparing to host members of a local civil rights group for a training session on police use of force. We decided to check in recently to see how that event went.

The group, originally called Shasta County Citizens Against Racism, is now known as Shasta County Citizens Advocating Respect (SCCAR). The non-profit was formed nearly 30 years ago after a civilian shooting with racial overtones. According to its website, the founders considered its mission in large part to serve as a “watchdog” to keep “law enforcement on task” in pursuing suspected “hate crimes.”

SCCAR’s relationship with the RPD and its 98 sworn officers has not been hostile, Bokavich says. But recent months have been “really rough” in the Northern California city of 90,000, with several officer-involved shootings and extended fights. With anti-cop sentiments stoked nationally by the inflammatory incidents in Ferguson and New York City, Bokavich, a DT and force-options instructor with 24 years in law enforcement, felt that a preemptive myth-busting session with activist groups in Redding might serve to clarify common misconceptions about police use of force and help to forestall any local eruptions.

With the support of Chief Robert Paoletti, invitations were issued to several organizations. SCCAR was the only one to respond.

“We planned on meeting with its members for three hours, beginning at 7 o’clock on a Tuesday night,” Bokavich told Force Science News. “We finally had to call it at 11p.m. They were so into it they didn’t even want to take bathroom breaks. It was just awesome!”

Bokavich and two fellow instructors, chosen for their outstanding presentation skills, delivered the same, unredacted content that Redding officers receive in a training class called “Force Options”. Bokavich explains: “We wanted the people attending to understand the whole breadth of what an officer has to consider in making a force decision, with nothing watered down.” Critical elements included:

  • A thorough review of the state penal code and department policy relating to use of force. (“We had members of the audience read the passages aloud so they could be assured that the information we were providing was accurate,” Bokavich says.)
  • An analysis of fundamental case law, including the findings of Graham v. Connor and Tennessee v. Garner. (“Many surprises came out of this for the class,” Bokavich says, “including the guidelines for reasonable force and learning that even shooting a suspect in the back can be perfectly legal in certain circumstances.”)
  • The realities of human performance under the influence of adrenalin and stress. (“They were really surprised to learn that three large officers trying to arrest an out-if-control 130-pound female can sometimes be very difficult,” Bokavich says.)
  • Debriefing dash-cam videos of real-world confrontations in Redding and elsewhere, including K-9 action, Taser deployment, even the use of a squad car to run over a criminal shooter. (“Based on the statutes, case law, and department policies, we asked them to critique the do’s and don’ts of the responses,” Bokavich says. “It was powerful for them to see what can happen even in our community–and how fast.”
  • Simulator scenarios, with the audience either on the hot spot as “responding officers” or acting as witnesses to the unfolding action. (“One woman’s pulse rate jumped to 135 just from role-playing an officer in a no-shoot scenario,” Bokavich recalls.)
  • A freewheeling Q & A exchange, that covered topics ranging from what parents should tell their kids about interacting with police to why local gang officers were “harassing” a boy who had red rags tied to the handlebars of his bike.
  • “When the evening ended, I was jazzed,” Bokavich says. “We took a chance by reaching out for the first time to a civil rights advocacy group. When we started, they had a healthy skepticism of what cops do, based on what they’d received from the media, movies, and other sources. Now I’m convinced they have a much better perspective of the challenges officers face in use-of-force situations.”
  • A participant interviewed by a TV reporter who was present agreed. “To see the incredible risk [officers face] is amazing,” said Rev. Ann Corrin. The training “helped me understand the emotional maturity that’s necessary for the job and be willing to give officers the benefit of the doubt going into tough, tough situations.”
  • Another SCCAR member, Celeste Draisner, wrote Bokavich: “I found that being able to accurately determine when to use or not use deadly force was much harder than I originally thought. I came away with more compassion for how difficult the choices officers have to make on the street must be.”
  • In the future, Bokavich hopes to repeat the program with other audiences, including the NAACP and the city council. The local ACLU board already has expressed interest, he says.
  • “Some departments seem to have apprehensions about sharing this kind of training information with civilians,” he says. “But as we’ve seen here, it can work wonderfully.”

NOTE: For more examples of the positive results of introducing civilians to force encounter scenarios visit the FORCE SCIENCE INSTITUTE PAGE on Facebook.

For other agencies interested in offering a similar program, Bokavich is willing to share recommendations and guidance. He can be contacted at: cbokavich@reddingpolice.com.

Leave a Reply


  • Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Effective date: January 06, 2019

Force Science Institute, Ltd. (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://www.forcescience.org/ website (hereinafter referred to as the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data. Our Privacy Policy for Force Science Institute, Ltd. is based on the Privacy Policy Template from Privacy Policies.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from https://www.forcescience.org/

Information Collection And Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

  • Email address
  • First name and last name
  • Phone number
  • Address, State, Province, ZIP/Postal code, City
  • Cookies and Usage Data

Usage Data

We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

Tracking & Cookies Data

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and hold certain information.

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Service.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service. You can learn more how to manage cookies in the Browser Cookies Guide.

Examples of Cookies we use:

  • Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our Service.
  • Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.
  • Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Use of Data

Force Science Institute, Ltd. uses the collected data for various purposes:

  • To provide and maintain the Service
  • To notify you about changes to our Service
  • To allow you to participate in interactive features of our Service when you choose to do so
  • To provide customer care and support
  • To provide analysis or valuable information so that we can improve the Service
  • To monitor the usage of the Service
  • To detect, prevent and address technical issues

Transfer Of Data

Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

Force Science Institute, Ltd. will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure Of Data

Legal Requirements

Force Science Institute, Ltd. may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

  • To comply with a legal obligation
  • To protect and defend the rights or property of Force Science Institute, Ltd.
  • To prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service
  • To protect the personal safety of users of the Service or the public
  • To protect against legal liability

Security Of Data

The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Service Providers

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), to provide the Service on our behalf, to perform Service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Service is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service.

  • Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en

Links To Other Sites

Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Children’s Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 (“Children”).

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes To This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us:

  • By email: support@forcescience.org
  • By visiting this page on our website: https://www.forcescience.org/contact
  • By phone number: 866-683-1944
  • By mail: Force Science Institute, Ltd.