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Proceedings Paper

Public perceptions of police operations and training
Author(s): Kathryn J. Stevens
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Paper Abstract

New 'less than lethal' technologies being introduced into the law enforcement community will inevitably be challenged in the courts. From local jurisdictions to the highest courts in the land, law suits are filed at an alarming rate. Many are ultimately declared frivolous, but until they are resolved, all require human resources, money, and time to defend. Addressing liability issues head on could help to minimize potential law suits and the drain of our resources. Police administrators utilize education and training as tools to limit potential liability in their day to day operations. One such tool is the 'use of force continuum,' a simplistic progressive formula which identifies levels of action and reaction available to an officer when encountering any situation. Teaching an officer to understand this concept is relatively simple; the ability for that officer to correctly make a decision is more difficult. Determining where a specific action should be placed on the 'grid,' which ranges from 'officer's presence' to 'lethal encounter,' requires an officer to consider possible 'after effects' into the equation. With new attitudes emerging toward police operations, their available weapons, and applied techniques, repeated training will be necessary for this concept to remain effective. Scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and police administrators are responsible for the appropriate placement of new technology on the 'use of force continuum.' Adequate training and education should include detailed tactical, medical, and legal documentation to the police practitioner and to the public. Public education on the weapons and training used by those who 'serve and protect' them is critical to the process of achieving community acceptance and cooperation, ultimately reducing potential liability.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 January 1997
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 2939, Training, Education, and Liability Issues for Law Enforcement Scientists and Engineers, (21 January 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.263479
Show Author Affiliations
Kathryn J. Stevens, Allen County Sheriff Dept. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2939:
Training, Education, and Liability Issues for Law Enforcement Scientists and Engineers
Trudy K. Overlin; Kathryn J. Stevens, Editor(s)

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