The Oakland Police Department policy defines force as any physical or mechanical intervention used by officers to defend against, control, overpower, restrain, or overcome the resistance of an individual. The OPD recognizes the impact force can have on subjects of force and witnesses to force, which is why force incidents are reviewed at multiple levels to ensure the force was appropriate and complied with policy.
Force is categorized into four levels based on seriousness.
- Level 1 uses of force are the most serious and include any use of force resulting in death, a substantial risk of causing death, or bodily injury. Level 1 uses of force are investigated at the highest level and ultimately reviewed by an Executive Force Review Board.
- Level 2 uses of force include any use of force resulting in an injury that requires treatment in a hospital or medical facility beyond what is required by basic first aid; personal weapon strikes to the head of a restrained individual; police canine bites; and certain Level 3 uses of force on a restrained individual. Level 2 uses of force are investigated and ultimately reviewed by a Force Review Board.
- Level 3 uses of force include the use of pepper spray or another chemical agent; an Electronic Control Weapon (Taser); a baton or any impact weapon; and weaponless defense techniques (i.e. hand/palm/elbow strikes, kicks, leg sweeps, and takedowns). Level 3 uses of force are investigated and reviewed by the chain of command, up to a Captain.
- Level 4 uses of force include the intentional pointing of a firearm and weaponless defense techniques. Level 4 uses of force are reported and reviewed by the chain of command, up to a Lieutenant.
Each force level is broken down into specific force types (i.e., pointing of a firearm, pepper spray, police canine bite, etc.). The OPD tracks use of force data by the incident, officer, subject of force, level of force, and type of force. While OPD calculates force numbers in multiple ways depending on the purpose, the data below includes all uses of force by every officer on every subject.
Due to the way subjects are categorized and tracked in the main use of force system, subjects of force in the same incident whose identity is "unknown" are not able to be individually tracked. This is most common in crowd control incidents where officers use force to protect themselves but, due to crowd size or temperament, are unable to arrest the person force was used against. In these cases, there may be numerous unknown persons who have force used against them, but those persons are not counted as separate force subjects.
*Use of force numbers are subject to change*