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Policy not always applicable


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  • Policy not always applicable

    In LE policy can be a book or two. However, does anyone feel they’ve come across difficult situations that there wasn’t policy for? If so, what were they?

  • #2
    I'm going to guess you're either not in LE or, if you are, you havn't been in it for too long.

    Any LEO with a little experience will tell you that it's impossible to have a policy for every situation (though some overly-liability-conscious or overly-controlling LE administrators try). We deal with the most unpredictable animals on the planet (humans), in extreme situations, in the real world...predicting every possible scenario and creating a policy for it is beyond unrealistic. If such a policy book were to exist, nobody would want to or be able to work under it, because it would be impossible to know and remember.

    Any LEO with time under his/her belt has had a situation that isn't covered by policy...usually quite frequently, actually. It's another day on the job.

    Oh, and three posts on the same topic is excessive.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche


    • #3
      Originally posted by mattydub View Post
      In LE policy can be a book or two. However, does anyone feel they’ve come across difficult situations that there wasn’t policy for? If so, what were they?
      Deciding on Tacos or Burgers.


      • #4
        Is this guy ESL, or what? He talks like "Yoda" in Star Wars...


        • #5
          I'll take the high road and work on the assumption that you had a computer issue that resulted in three effectively duplicate posts.

          If policy does not address something, you make your decisions based on the agency mission and needs. Is your considered course of action lawful? Is your course of action safe? Does the action align with the agency's SOP in similar circumstances? Has your training addressed the issue even if not formalized in policy?

          Depending on agency culture and protocol, you can always call on a supervisor to decide what you should do, though that is kicking the can down the road.
          John from Maryland


          • #6
            No set of rules can be written so thoroughly as to anticipate every possible contingency. As a result, there will be times when officers will need to divert from policy. When that occurs, they must be prepared to justify their conduct to avoid disciplinary action.

            I'll give you two examples.

            Late one weekend night I was on patrol in South Los Angeles when I was flagged down by two women. One was very pregnant, her water had broken and she was having her baby now. The hospital was 45 second drive away by patrol car.

            My department policy stated that sick and injured people will not be transported to the hospital in a patrol car. Instead, officers were to call paramedics who will respond to the scene, stabilize the patient and then transport them to the hospital in the appropriate vehicle. At this hour on a weekend night in the ghetto, I knew that typical call loads were such that it would take paramedics around 15 to 20 minutes if not more to respond to our location. The woman could walk to the hospital by then, or have her baby on the way. Were I to refuse to help and tell her to wait for the paramedics, I could envision an editorial in the Los Angeles Times popping up, lambasting both me and my department for refusing assistance to a pregnant mother, causing her to give birth on a ghetto street corner, all due to "policy."

            I put her in the patrol car for a less than one minute ride to the hospital.

            In the next instance, one of our officers responded to a call of a silent alarm for an armed robbery in progress. He was literally the only officer available at the time and had to handle the call by himself. As he approached the door of premises, the suspect ran out, shoved his gun in the officer's stomach, pulled the trigger and kept running. (This was before we had vests.) The gun misfired. The suspect continued running down the block with our officer in pursuit, about a quarter block behind.

            It was 12 noon in a downtown area. People were leaving their offices to go for lunch and the armed suspect, who had demonstrated a willingness to shoot anyone who interfered with his flight, was running towards an intersection filled with around 75 people. Our officer fired a warning shot, which was in direct violation of department policy which prohibited him doing so. The officer eventually caught up with the suspect and after a considerable altercation, took him into custody.

            When asked why he violated policy and fired a warning shot, the officer stated he couldn't shout loud enough, so fired to warn the pedestrians in the crowded intersection they were in imminent danger from the fleeing suspect who was armed and ready to shoot.

            Based on this incident, we amended our Use of Force policy to allow warning shots to warn people of danger. Similarly our state's Attorney General amended his model Use of Force Policy to allow warning shots in similar circumstances.

            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


            • Iowa #1603
              Iowa #1603 commented
              Editing a comment
              I had more than one policy revised to keep up with MY interpretation of a situation.

          • #7
            Our patrol guide is generously peppered with the words "when possible". This allows officers to bend the guidelines when they have act immediately to preserve life and property. Conversely, don't bet your career on the "wasn't possible " defense for ignoring procedures.


            • #8
              I say to follow policy, and by doing so, it should protect you. If you ever run into a situation not covered or you have to operate outside of policy, have a VERY good explanation of why you violated policy or did what you did. If you get dinged, just take your lumps.


              • #9
                There are times even when policy is the wrong thing to do...
                "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes, but we can still be read our Garrity rights and punished through a weaponized administrative investigation process for it...

                • tanksoldier
                  tanksoldier commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That can happen even when you follow policy...

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