What is a force continuum? I have been asked this question on a fairly regular basis. During today’s show, I explain what a continuum is and how it is applied. I also describe a few of the most commonly used continuum models.

The force continuum is a guideline to what would be considered a reasonably necessary responses to a given threat. However, you must remember this is just a guideline and is influenced by a variety of elements. Consequently, understanding the continuum will help you make better force decisions and decrease your response time. 

Many organizations have created visual models to help people better understand the information presented. The essential elements of a force model are consistent across the board. However, the manner in which the continuum is displayed can vary greatly. Therefore, I have provided three example models below. I do not endorse one model over another, but you can clearly see how the models relate the force information. You should note that the Canadian Circular model is the only model at the time that addressed de-escalation as a part of the force continuum. 


Example Force Continuum Models

Linear Force Model

Stair-Step Force Model

Circular Force Model