In most situations, we think about Use of Force as only involving law enforcement cases. As an Expert Witness, law enforcement case are the ones that usually get the press and invite lawsuits. However, there are those cases that do not involve law enforcement, but the principles are the same. It is true that police officers who are making arrests of dangerous criminals are being exposed to a large number of potentially violent confrontations in the course of their work and, as such, are made to make split second decision. Some of their decisions are good choices, while others deviate from good common sense, their training, or are just a gross violation of a person’s civil rights. When a police officer is accused wrongfully or a civilian is unjustly abused by a police officer, they should receive the best Use of Force Expert as possible to ensure that justice is served.
A Use of Force Expert needs to review all the facts and make a determination from those facts as to the police officer’s or civilian’s actions. In order to accomplish this, an Expert needs to have the background and empirical knowledge to look at the officer’s training and experience, the circumstance at hand and, from that, make a determination as to the actions and decisions of the officer and or civilian. One of the questions is, “have they been trained properly in order to execute their jobs safely and effectively?”.
All my research over the past 30 plus years has shown that officers who displayed poor judgment or made tactical errors may have resorted to unacceptable tactics. Studies done by many of the large police departments in the country also indicate the importance of teaching officers the safest methods to employ in effecting arrests of potentially dangerous criminals is critical to the safety of both the officer and subject. They also state that it is essential to train officers to develop and maintain the physical and psychological skills that they may be called upon to use in violent confrontations. The question that we all must ask is, “Are the police departments and law enforcement training academies around the globe conducting training that will enhance the officers’ ability to survive a violent confrontation, while at the same time not abusing the right of our citizens and are the officers displaying good judgment when confronting civilians?”.