§ 7.01. Scope and Applicability of Principles

The following Principles:

  • (a) are intended to guide the conduct of all agencies that possess the lawful authority to use force, which are referred to throughout this Chapter as “agencies”;
  • (b) are intended for consideration by an informed citizenry, and for adoption as deemed appropriate by legislative bodies, courts, and agencies;
  • (c) are not intended to create or impose any legal obligations or bases for legal liability absent an expression of such intent by a legislative body, court, or agency.


a. Scope and applicability of Principles. These Principles relating to the use of force by public-safety agencies are directed at agencies and agency employees that possess this power lawfully.

The intended audience for these Principles relating to the use of force—as is true of all Principles in this project—is broad. The Principles are intended to inform and guide the decisions of all government actors, be they legislative, executive, or judicial, as well as members of the public with an interest in public safety and law enforcement.

The Principles, standing alone, are not intended to create liability in agencies or their employees. First, they are stated at a high level of generality and thus are less specific than should be the rules that govern policing. Second, these Principles contain none of the appropriate limits on liability, such as fault or causation standards. Rather, they are intended to inform the principled development of policies and rules by governmental actors, including legislative bodies, administrative bodies (including public-safety agencies themselves), and courts.

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