Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Liability vs. LEOs

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Liability vs. LEOs

    As I pursue Law Enforcement Opportunities, I continue to take notice of how oftentimes when a LEO defends him or herself, the attacker [or family of attacker] later sues not only the Department and City [or County/State], but personally sues the officer. My questions are:

    · Does the Department defend the officer upon a personal civil suit?
    · Does the fact that knowing these types of law suits are possible, even if you are in the right, might cause you to hesitate in a defense situation…just at the critically wrong time?
    · Does the current atmosphere ever make you question continuing on with LE work?

    I have relatives who worry that I may get killed or seriously hurt while I’m on Auxiliary Police duty, or if I further my career as a sworn officer. I don’t share that fear. But what sometimes concerns me is the civil law issue....when I hear talk like: “If you use that ASP on someone, they’re going to sue the #&[email protected] out of you.” Or “If you OC someone, they'll try and take your house” etc.

    That kind of talk tends to work on someone. Not that it is detouring me from staying the course with my carreer goals, but it does get me to pause a bit. Just wanted to know how the folks in the field view this side of the law. It’s a shame that this should even become a topic.

  • #2
    Depends on the situation. If the officer is liked within the agency, they will defend him. If the officer is not liked, they will find some sort of breach of policy and fire him/her. Most depts. will defend as long as the officer acted by policy and law.
    It would help to join a firm such as an FOP legal plan or other similar type of plan.
    live everyday as if it your last...because one day it will be

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pliers View Post
      · Does the Department defend the officer upon a personal civil suit?
      As long as the officers actions were justified under the color of law and are within department policy, a department should defend the officer. There are departments out there that work very hard to seperate themselves from liability and stick it all on the officer. More often than not, they are not successful and must mount the defence. I highly recommend that all officers carry a liability rider on their home owners insurance on the off chance that they are hung to dry.

      · Does the fact that knowing these types of law suits are possible, even if you are in the right, might cause you to hesitate in a defense situation…just at the critically wrong time?
      Absolutely not. If this is in your mind on the streets, you need to get your mind right or find a new career. We do occasionally see rookies that have had liability fears drummed into them at the academy, but it doesn't take long to break those habits. Hestitation means death. That's what needs to get drummed into your head.

      · Does the current atmosphere ever make you question continuing on with LE work?
      I will admit to frustration with this at times, but its not strong enough to make me jump ship. I love this job.
      Originally posted by kontemplerande
      Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pliers View Post
        Does the Department defend the officer upon a personal civil suit?

        Does the fact that knowing these types of law suits are possible, even if you are in the right, might cause you to hesitate in a defense situation…just at the critically wrong time?

        Does the current atmosphere ever make you question continuing on with LE work?

        It’s a shame that this should even become a topic.
        My responses are as follows:

        1) Yes, as long as you're acting within the course and scope of your employment (duties).

        2) No, as long as you know and can articulate that the force used was reasonable given the circumstances of the event and based upon your training and experience.

        3) No. Exposure to law suits is part of the job and was when I entered law enforcement in the mid-seventies. Recognizing how the legal system works and being capable of working within the system (criminal and civil) is an essential part of the job. Doing so not only enables you to be effective, it protects you, your career and your mental health at the same time.

        I don't think it's "a shame" that these things are issues. Although it's initially confusing, after working in this field for awhile you should grow to understand and appreciate the system we have. It's a system of checks and balances. I wouldn't want to live (as a citizen) in a society where it's too easy to do police work. Ours is a country where individual rights are generally respected and the power of the government is limited for a reason. There are many countries where this isn't the case and I don't think either of us would want to live there. Reasonableness is the key and so long as you act in a reasonable manner, baseless lawsuits will be few, far between and (when actually heard in court) will be ajudicated in your favor.
        "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

        Comment


        • #5
          Force Issues and Liability

          Last night at Roll Call, we were discussing an arrest officers made of a suspect who swallowed a small chunk of "Rock" cocaine. One of the newer officers asked about trying to prevent the destruction of evidence and "what force" could be used. My answer was "Reasonable Force."

          I then explained that in years past, officers can and did use "c-clamps" and "bar-arm" holds to prevent suspects from destroying evidence that would probably send them to state prison for years. Now, as often as not three or more convictions for possessing small amounts of narcotics only result in being sent to "diversion" programs, aimed at "helping the addict overcome his/her addiction." Like it or not, even short jail terms are rare for simple possession cases. I then asked the officer if he, or any of the officers in the room had been trained in techniques designed to prevent persons from swallowing contraband. If not, what would the result be if the suspect suffered an injury to his neck, windpipe or other body part which resulted in his death during an attempt to recover evidence? It's one thing to die as the result of an accidental overdose (caused by ingesting drugs to prevent their seizure by the police), it's another thing entirely if the suspect dies at the hands of the police over a relatively minor drug violation. I told the officers present that it was their responsibility to decide what is "reasonable" in the field. Their ability to articulate how it was reasonable might very well be important years later.
          "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

          Comment


          • #6
            Pliers, I can appreciate your concern for being sued. Being sued is a real possibility; however, the way I feel is if you are honest with yourself and take action that you truely feel is justified you should never have a problem. As mentioned earlier articulation is everything. Some people make fun of me because of how detailed certain reports can be. In the case that I am ever sued I want the judge or jury to feel that they were in that situation. And i NEVER let liability change my course of action for what I feel is necessary force. The old saying goes "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pulicords View Post
              Last night at Roll Call, we were discussing an arrest officers made of a suspect who swallowed a small chunk of "Rock" cocaine. One of the newer officers asked about trying to prevent the destruction of evidence and "what force" could be used. My answer was "Reasonable Force."

              I then explained that in years past, officers can and did use "c-clamps" and "bar-arm" holds to prevent suspects from destroying evidence that would probably send them to state prison for years. Now, as often as not three or more convictions for possessing small amounts of narcotics only result in being sent to "diversion" programs, aimed at "helping the addict overcome his/her addiction." Like it or not, even short jail terms are rare for simple possession cases. I then asked the officer if he, or any of the officers in the room had been trained in techniques designed to prevent persons from swallowing contraband. If not, what would the result be if the suspect suffered an injury to his neck, windpipe or other body part which resulted in his death during an attempt to recover evidence? It's one thing to die as the result of an accidental overdose (caused by ingesting drugs to prevent their seizure by the police), it's another thing entirely if the suspect dies at the hands of the police over a relatively minor drug violation. I told the officers present that it was their responsibility to decide what is "reasonable" in the field. Their ability to articulate how it was reasonable might very well be important years later.
              VERY good example puli!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Liability vs LEOs

                First, I really suggest you re-read all of the previous posts, as they contain some excellent information. I'm going to outline the manner in which the State of Alabama indemnifies and protects it's employees, including Officers. Each Officer is indemnified for amounts of up to three million dollars for events arising from one official act. This protection is predicated upon the doctrine of "Good Faith Immunity". The doctrine presupposes that the Officer acted properly, and in good faith, even if the action was arguably wrong. Alabama has an excellent track record in defending it's Officers in lawsuits. Lawsuits against Officers are generally filed against his/her employing entity. Procedural considerations may also require that the action be filed against the Officer personally. The employing entity usually has the "deeper pockets", and that's where the chances of a substantial recovery lie. Sometimes, the employing entity will offer to settle the suit out of court. I've spoken to several Deputy Attorneys General concerning this, and their attitude is that a settlement is a "business decision". Here's $30,000.00, now go away. In most settlements,the entity admits no wrong doing on it's part, or the part of the Officer. This non-admission is often a condition of the settlement being made. Should this ever happen to you, don't be offended. As noted, it's a business decision. Quite a few Officers elect to purchase additional insurance against these types of claims through the F.O.P., Trooper's Associations, PBA, etc. I have absolutely no problem with that either. If you have any doubts concerning an employer's willingness or ability to defend you in a lawsuit, you might want to purchase that type of insurance. You might also want to consider working elsewhere. Sorry for the long winded reply, just wanted to cover some basics. Final thought. You commit some wild, irresponsible type of act out there(not saying YOU would), but you're gonna be on your own, possibly in the slammer, and looking up attorneys in the phone book.

                Comment


                • #9
                  To all those who posted here: Thank you very much for taking the time to share your views, and giving me your advice. You have helped me a great deal in understanding this topic, and giving me ways to help deal with the concern of working in a litigious society.

                  I wish you all safe-keeping in the truly honorable work that you do.

                  Comment

                  MR300x250 Tablet

                  Collapse

                  What's Going On

                  Collapse

                  There are currently 6096 users online. 355 members and 5741 guests.

                  Most users ever online was 26,947 at 07:36 PM on 12-29-2019.

                  Welcome Ad

                  Collapse
                  Working...
                  X