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Managing the Use of Force Incident for Criminal Justice Officers, Supervisors, and Administrators

NCJ Number
Howard Webb
Date Published
404 pages
This book presents a new and innovative approach for law enforcement agencies in managing liability that stems from a use-of-force incident.
Rather than resorting to the traditional reactive responses by departments and officers when confronted with a lawsuit that involves a use-of-force incident, this book proposes proactive strategies that officers, trainers, supervisors, and administrators can implement in order to prevent use-of-force lawsuits. The proposed proactive management strategy for preventing liability associated with the use of force involves four strategies. First, understand causation. This involves a study of use- of- force incidents that have led to successful lawsuits and those that have failed to establish liability. Based on an understanding of causation, law enforcement administrators should devise departmental policy and training on the use of force and officer behavior that will either prevent the use of force or ensure that it is only used when it is the only means of ensuring officer safety and public safety. Second, focus on prevention. One chapter of the book offers recommendations for the development of performance, training, and administrative solutions to prevent officer and departmental liability. Third, create a proactive defense. This requires that the architects of police policy on the use of force be familiar with the departmental policies and officer actions that are most likely to incur liability from the perspective of juries and judges. Policies, procedures, training, and supervision should then be tailored to ensure that force is used in a manner and on an occasion that will avoid liability. Fourth, ensure that officer training focuses on the use of force. Such training should be carefully designed to ensure that officers are conditioned to act and react in ways that will avoid liability when they use force in enforcing the law. A list of training resources, a bibliography, and a subject index