Sheriff’s captain investigated for alleged improper use of force

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a 52-year-old captain for alleged improper use of force.

Sheriff’s officials say the captain dispersed pepper spray into a group of inmates at the County Correctional Facility-South.

Sheriff’s officials are not identifying the captain due to the ongoing investigation.

FOX6 News spoke with Waukesha County Technical College Criminal Justice Dean Brian Dorow regarding when it is appropriate for a law enforcement official to use pepper spray. Dorow said it comes down to perception.

“What does the officer perceive as a threat? My threat perception is going to be different than someone who may not be as big or muscular, so all those factors play into it in when an officer feels justified to use force,” Dorow said.

Dorow said in situations where a suspect or inmate isn’t listening, only partially listening or appears threatening, it’s up to an officer to determine if he or she feels threatened enough to use a control device like a taser or pepper spray.

“Ultimately, an officer can use the amount of force possible that is dictated by a suspect’s actions or inactions. It’s not an equal sparring match. (If) the suspect displays a boxer stance, I don’t have to box them and get injured. The officer is allowed to maintain a position of advantage,” Dorow said.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office has not named the captain under investigation. A spokeswoman did not know whether the captain is on active duty during this investigation. 

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