Our expertise on how, when and why

Raptor Principles of Use of Force Analysis

Law enforcement is a unique profession in which split-second decisions, especially those involving force response options are evaluated in a protracted fashion and from every conceivable angle. As a result, the ensuing investigation may produce forensic fact patterns which are substantially dissimilar from those experienced by the officers at the time that critical decisions resulted in the responses to a perceived threat. The resulting investigatory judgments based upon weeks, months or years of microscopic focus on a police officer’s actions, which typically occur within seconds or milliseconds, are in constant danger of unintentional hindsight bias, attributional errors and leading justice astray.

The application of force on citizens by law enforcement officers is extremely important to Canadians. The proper and healthy functioning of a free and democratic society such as ours certainly depends upon the establishment of laws to govern acceptable behaviour. And the establishment of laws is pointless without a requisite mechanism to enforce those laws. The consequence of these factors then, is that law enforcement officers are essential to upholding the Rule of Law and that the application of force in furtherance of the enforcement of those laws or in the defense of citizens or the officer will sometimes be required. Therefore, of immense interest to police executives, civilian oversight bodies, police commissions and indeed, all citizens of Canada, is ensuring that police agencies have sound training and policy reflecting the ‘ethos’ of what it means to be a law enforcement officer and how that understanding guides officers in making decisions reflecting the highest ethical and moral expectations the public ought to have of the police officers who serve this Country.

Raptor Protection & Safety Services Inc. has been dedicated, since 2004, to advancing the professionalism of law enforcement in the arenas of use of force training, objective, neutral fact-finding investigations and expert witness testimony. This has been, and continues to, be accomplished through the application of multiple critical factors, specifically:

  • the basic philosophy of the use of force,
  • a high-level view of the existing case law pertaining to the application of force and how to properly interpret the use of force,
  • the development, understanding and application of use of force models / frameworks,
  • the categories of force techniques and the possible risks of their use,
  • risk assessments, heuristics, decision making and decision errors,
  • situational factors unique to the context of each incident,
  • officer impact factors,
  • action / reaction, time to start / time to stop and speed of assault principles,
  • the usefulness, dangers and limitations of video in the investigative process,
  • interviewing considerations for maximizing memory accuracy while limiting memory errors and confabulations.

For more information or to request a consultation on a use of force file, contact Chris Butler at


“During his 34 year law enforcement career, Chris Butler was one of the early pioneers in seeking out research that can help law enforcement continue to move forward with evidence based training and enforcement. As a result, he has become one of North America’s top experts in police training and use of force. I have always been impressed with his dedication and thoughtfulness.”

Dr. Alexis Artwohl, Ph.D.
Behavioral Science Consultant to Law Enforcement
Author of Deadly Force Encounters

“I have known and worked with Chris Butler for more than 20 years. More than an expert Police Officer – with detailed practical and scientific knowledge about police practices, law enforcement in general and police training – Chris is a humanitarian, a scholar and an educator who believes in lifetime learning and continuous improvement. Chris and I first worked together in an epidemiologic study of police use of force; work in which his influence, dedication and actions were pivotal in the successful completion of that and other research that followed. Since those early beginnings I have been privileged to watch his career evolve to an in depth understanding of research principle, participation in advancing the field of policing in a responsible, evidence guided way and teaching the approaches that make policing better and societies safer.

A gifted public speaker, Chris has the ability to make difficult concepts real and understandable in a short period of time. He enables lay persons (like scientists, doctors and the general public) to grasp the complexities of law enforcement with a deeper practical understanding while he also able to draw police officers and their administrators to the scientific world in way that makes intellectual sense. These are important skills based soundly in a long and ethical police career. Simply put, Chris Butler is the definition of the complete expert and being in his company makes one smarter, more engaged and more enthusiastic in understanding and solving a problem, changing an approach or answering a difficult set of questions.”

Christine A Hall, MD MSc FRCPC
Department of Emergency Medicine
Island Health, Victoria BC
Faculty of Medicine, UBC
Faculty of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary