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Police Liability for Negligent Training Under 42 U.S.C. 1983 Actions

NCJ Number
National Sheriff Volume: 39 Issue: 1 Dated: (February-March 1988) Pages: 37-41
R J Meadows
Date Published
5 pages
This article discusses inadequate or negligent training of police officers as the basis for civil liability claims against law enforcement agencies and their relation to Federal statute 42 U.S.C. 1983.
Police negligent cases, including negligent appointment, retention, assignment, and entrustment are described. To establish a course of action under Section 1983, three requirements needed are (1) a constitutional deprivation of rights; (2) rights taken under color of State law; and (3) deprivation resulting in injury. In addition, negligent training cases must show that the alleged wrongdoing constitutes a municipal 'custom or policy.' Several cases are cited as illustrations. Recommendations to assist in defending against claims of negligent training practices are offered on the scope of training, course materials, selection of instructors, content of training, and mandatory attendance requirements. Additional recommendations are made that (1) recruits be required to demonstrate their knowledge through testing and field demonstrations, (2) training be continuous, (3) officers be initiated on how police liability occurs, and (4) police supervisors be updated along with their subordinates.