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Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide by [Miller, Rory]
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Length: 206 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"Understand the world police officers must live in, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week."--George Mattson, martial artists, author

"I Commend and thank Miller for writing this important addition to the literature related to violence and law enforcement."--Alain Burrese, J.D., former U.S. Army 82nd Airborne, author

"Know your rights and your duties as a citizen Read this book."--Wim Demeere"

"In an entertaining and informative way, Miller explains how and why police apply force."--Steve Perry, NY Times best-selling author

About the Author

Rory Miller former Sergeant, has been studying martial arts since 1981. He's a best-selling writer and a veteran corrections officer. He's taught and designed courses on Use of Force Policy and Decision Making, Police Defensive Tactics, Confrontational Simulations, and he has led and trained his former agency's Corrections Tactical Team. Recently, he taught how to run a modern, safe, and secure prison at the Iraqi Corrections Systems, Iraq. Rory Miller resides near Portland, Oregon.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2335 KB
  • Print Length: 206 pages
  • Publisher: YMAA Publication Center; annotated edition edition (1 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZQ63G2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #732,110 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9deb8894) out of 5 stars 33 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ded1498) out of 5 stars Brilliant, insightful, and important read 5 April 2012
By L. A. Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A couple years ago my neighbor pointed a loaded shotgun at a SWAT team. They didn't kill him; didn't even pull the trigger, but rather talked him into surrendering. That same day, about two hours later, a driver pointed a loaded handgun at a State Patrol officer who had pulled him over. That guy died in a hail of gunfire. Which, naturally, leads one to wonder why? Why did officers use lethal force in one situation and not another?

Police officers go to work every day knowing that they may be forced to make split second, life-or-death decisions. These decisions are subsequently scrutinized by review boards and editorial boards as well as in the courts, both that of public opinion as well as (oftentimes) the law. Citizens who witness or read about violent incidents are often confused, even dismayed by the officers' use of force decisions, even when their actions are perfectly lawful and justified. This, I believe, is why this book was written. It helps readers understand why and how police make force decisions by leading them through the same type of training that rookie officers learn at their academy. Here's how it is laid out:

Section 1 (training) explains policies and laws. It examines use of force, how to define a threat, and the difference between excessive force and unnecessary force.

Section 2 (checks and balances) explains how an officer's decisions are examined after a critical incident.

Section 3 (experience) explores how officers see the world. It helps readers better understand the officers decision-making process.

Section 4 (about you) reviews what you should have learned. The perspective shifts from that of an officer to that of a suspect, helping you know how to behave when faced by an officer.

This is a phenomenal resource for reporters, fiction writers, potential jurors, civilian oversight board members, or just about anyone else who wants to better understand the duties and responsibilities of police officers. It is also an invaluable tool for those concerned with self-defense, offering insight not found anyplace else that I am aware of. Miller, whose insight on violence and society is extraordinary, has done a real service to the public with this one. It is an excellent and highly recommended book.

Lawrence Kane
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other books
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ded14ec) out of 5 stars Eye opening 12 Jun. 2012
By Mary L. Currie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's not often you'll come across a book that is so timely, but in this case Force Decisions was written for today's American (and beyond). As a high school nurse with over 2,300 students and being a Neighborhood Watch Liaison so much of this information applies to situations that I encounter on a daily basis. Too often I see others observe our school's Resource Officer as the bad guy trying to 'bust' yet another student. This book spelled out clearly that it's NOT about the officers vs. the bad guys --- it's the bad guys vs. the victims. If we as citizens simply do nothing, we are confirming to criminals that we accept the situation just as it is and it's just fine to not get involved...it's the victims that have to endure the consequences as best they can.
Think about it, when our senses are drawn to something disturbing it might be observing the police officers 'duty to act' and we have no idea what transpired a couple moments before. What might be a once in a lifetime scenario for us, is probably a common occurrence to most officers who are trained day in and out on various situations they might encounter.
The author lists The Hard Truths about civilians vs. the bad guys. Communities should not react only when a crime involves them - they should be prepared to help their neighbors by keeping an eye out when they see something questionable and expect to help out the officer. This idea of not wanting to get involved needs to stop when you have a group of officers that you can trust to make sound decisions using a wealth of tactics at their fingertips.
Excellent read for every citizen wanting to live in a safer environment.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0ee0bf4) out of 5 stars Lots to Think About 13 May 2012
By Dolores L. Sparrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Rory Miller brings his vast expertise and wisdom to his new book, Force Decision: A Citizen's Guide. As I read this book, its tone reminds me of the first scene in each of the 1980s TV show, Hill Street Blues: "Let's be careful out there!" In today's environment, with so many states allowing you to `stand your ground', the older version of withdraw whenever possible in the face of danger is becoming passé. Miller gives ample reasons for citizens to follow the latter decision: the psychological price being one of the most compelling. And law enforcement professionals who must rush into a deadly encounter, whereas most citizens would run away, pay the same heavy emotional price. For one moment of blazing glory, the aftermath is difficult to deal with, and Miller brings this home clearly. The author emphasizes the Three Golden Rules and applies them so the reader can understand the mindset of the majority of officers who are doing their job every day. To me, the first rule tells it all: "You and your partners go home safely at the end of each and every shift." Miller explains how an officer's decisions to use particular levels of force make this possible and are largely the result of an officer's training and past experiences.
The reader is invited to consider the training of law enforcement professionals: how they are honed into the officers we count on every day. Nor can we overlook the author's clearly detailed stress and instant decision-making by officers, which are then often criticized by the everyday citizen. After reading this book, the reader should be clearly aware of the very fine line each officer under fire must consider: Will his or her level of force result in a lawsuit? On the other hand, do we, as citizens, really want this consideration to enter into the officer's life-or-death decisions? Miller's Hard Truth #1 answers the questions for me: "The only defense against evil, violent people is good people who are more skilled at violence." He also brings to our attention those officers who hang on, but who clearly miss the mark. Thus, we should not paint all officers with the same broad stroke. Miller includes countless past incidents of law enforcement officers caught in tragic situations sometimes of their own making, but often not. Altogether, Miller has created a book that validates his authority as a law enforcement professional.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ded1774) out of 5 stars Everyone Should Read This. 21 May 2013
By J. Steinmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Force Decisions may be the single most important thing Rory Miller has ever written.

Yes, I know I had a lot of good things to say about his other works (Meditations on Violence and Facing Violence). I would even go so far as to say I think that most, if not all, students of self-defense and combatives should be familiar with those works. As valuable as they are, however, I would argue that Force Decisions is substantively more important because it addresses questions and concepts that go far beyond the realm of self-defense.

Force Decisions is not about self-defense or martial arts; it is about understanding how, when, and most importantly, WHY law enforcement officers use force (which covers everything from pain compliance tactics to firearms). And while I know plenty of people with a minimal to non-existent interest in self-defense, I've never met a single person who didn't feel qualified to venture some kind of opinion on any reported use of force by the police. Any time there is a highly publicized use of force, from an arrest to a shooting, everyone and their mother rushes to share their opinions about the actions of the officer involved. Some support them, some condemn them, but very often, most have no idea about the actual issues involved. They make their judgments based not on information, but on some vague sense of morality, either one that says that the cops are generally right, or one that says they are generally wrong.

Force Decisions offers a window into the process by which officers make the decision to use force, and how much force they decide to use. Miller packs a great deal of information into this compact volume, which clocks in at a bit under 200 pages. Larger legal concepts, such as use of force policy, defining a threat, and what constitutes excessive vs. unnecessary force, are all broken down in clear and easily digestible discussions. Miller also covers the process by which an officer's decisions are examined, and works to deliver some insights into how law enforcement officers see the world. Throughout the book, Miller offers a number of details or illustrative stories to help support his ideas. Not all of the stories are his, though it's occasionally unclear who is telling the story. That is a minor gripe, but a gripe nonetheless. He also makes the time to explain how this knowledge should affect you as a citizen, particularly if you are a citizen who is confronted by an officer in the line of duty. While much of his advice could be boiled down to "don't be an idiot", the insight into what might be running through the cop's mind the next time you get pulled over for speeding is an invaluable one.

Regardless of how you feel about the police, and their use of force as a tool, this book is valuable. If you consider yourself an informed citizen, and want to be able to speak intelligently about controversies like the police responses to the Occupy movement, get this book. It will open up a lot of valuable insights.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ded1858) out of 5 stars View from the other side 1 May 2012
By Marcus N. Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting and useful book. It is clear and explains the concepts of the use of force by police agencies well. Concepts are illustrated with sometimes chilling examples, but that helps to explain the necessity of the procedures involved. I think this book would be useful for the police officer as well as the intended civilian audience. I recommend this book and will certainly read it again.
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