Law Enforcement Overview

Other than Police Forces, Law Enforcement training including academics and defensive tactics, are often no better than their civilian counterparts.

If you really think about it there are numerous law enforcement agencies in this country. Their personnel enjoy peace officer status or at least "peace officer status for the purpose of enforcement of..." but their training standards (those that even have any) often offer, if anything, only lip service to the entire field of use of force. Like their civilian counterparts, they rely on policies and procedures instructing their employees to "observe and report" only or to "disengage" at any possibility of things becoming physical.

While these statements in and of themselves are good advice and ought to be followed by any prudent person, they are incomplete and as stated earlier in this website a failure to act can result in as much liability as any inappropriate act.

Also as previously stated, Federal legislation already exists requiring adequate training and equipment before placing persons in harm's way. Yet, for example, by-law enforcement officers are four times more likely to be assaulted than police officers, yet in most places they are lucky if they get even verbal training in intervention skills. Physical skills? They're told to disengage but in most departments nobody ever shows them how.

I would respectfully suggest to the administrators of these departments that your greatest likelihood of a lawsuit will probably be from employees or their families after a major incident has occurred.

Police forces training standards are well documented and mandated across their industry. New legislations throughout Canada are causing the same thing to happen within the security industry. What defense can be offered following a major incident when you do get to court and it's pointed out that parallel industries offer this training and you're asked "Why didn't you?"

I find it inconceivable that we are repeatedly being called upon for training in workplace violence management and physical intervention skills for bus drivers, taxi drivers, office employees and others. Yet law enforcement agencies and quasi law enforcement agencies completely ignore use of force training issues.

Volunteering to become case law is just not a good idea and always expensive. Training is not the only way to mitigate but it is an essential part of a sound mitigation package.

The Cost of Training vs.
The Cost of Not Training

A single incident resulting in permanent bodily harm or death to a staff or a member of the public will run into the millions of dollars. The costs to morale, loss in productivity, and with certain enforcement agencies, the inability to generate revenue during the fall out of such an incident can be even more expensive.

If someone is going to cross the line on unlawful or excessive use of force they'll do so with or without training.If they are given training (with full and proper documentation and record keeping)their responses are more likely to fall within legal parameters. Without training they will resort to their last "successful experience....real or imagined".

The response may come from movies, W.W.F., gaming or whatever they spend their leisuretime doing. The likehood of the response being 'appropriate given the nature of the percieved threat' is not good. They will almost surely (often correctly) point at the lack of training as the root problem with their response selection.

Proper training, due diligence with regards to record keeping, setting clear expectations and impartial progressive disipline when required are the measures and expectations currently set by Federal regulations as the only way to mitigate responsibilities and damage in the event of a finding of unlawful or excessive use of force.

Those law enforcement agencies whose departments currently provide sufficient academics may still need to update their defensive tactics training if only to the extent of teaching effective disengagement tactics along with appropriate non-physical intervention skills training.

With Police agencies and now security and private investigators having regulated training standards parallel industries, especially other types of law enforcement agencies, are going to have to meet or exceed these training standards or pay the price in litigation costs.

Home Use of Force