By: Tami Zupkow Hannon, Esq.
I often get asked what topics to train on when faced with limited resources. These questions frequently overlap lawsuits alleging little or no training. It is virtually impossible to train on every possible situation. So how do you make those training dollars count?
The following areas draw the most lawsuits and are always good subjects for training:
- Use of Force – the continuum, going up AND down the continuum in response to changing situations, the use of deadly force;
- Providing Medical Care – recognizing and documenting an individual’s appearance and any medical care provided both in the corrections and arrest setting;
- Report Writing – I’ll admit I have never seen a lawsuit alleging negligent report writing, but I have seen many a lawsuit stemming from a poorly written report. Review what should and should not be in a report;
- Probable Cause for an arrest;
- Seizures – determining when stops are appropriate and the limits of each type of stop – traffic, consensual, reasonable suspicion, warrant-less arrests;
- Searches – what searches go with what seizures – frisk, inventory, incident to arrest, etc., executing a search warrant;
- Interactions with the Disabled – this issue is becoming more prevalent. Discuss how to recognize and respond to someone with a medical or mental health issue;
- Evidence – handling, preserving and logging, scene preservation;
- Harassment and Discrimination – in interactions with citizens, arrestees, detainees and prisoners, AND coworkers;
- Internal Reviews and Investigations – designate and train appropriate officers on conducting internal reviews of incidents to ensure policies are followed and appropriate discipline given.
Outside of (or even within) these areas, review the calls you routinely handle and the most frequent situations that arise. Train your officers on handling those calls. Next, look to the less frequent but larger issues – perhaps non-English speakers, rapes, or shootings – and train officers to manage those as well. Training on the most infrequently occurring issues can similarly be less frequent.
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