Showing posts from May, 2013

Police Use of Force: Down and Dirty

Police use of force (UoF) law is a cloud of convoluted cases and statutes. We have structured the seemingly unrelated issues together into a comprehensive template that includes: Search, Seizure, Force, and Intrusion. The below chalkboard schematic is unapologetically a work-in-progress, but we unveil it here to demonstrate its usefulness in Seizure and Force issues (it can also be used to dissect levels of intrusion while performing searches...which is why we call it a "combined" template.)

First and foremost, it is absolutely impossible to discuss UoF without beginning with Fourth Amendment Search & Seizure (S&S). This can be termed lawful placement or lawful foundation or lawful authority. Police officers must first begin with a lawful objective in mind:

Defense of selfDefense of othersInvestigative detentionCriminal arrestCustody for involuntary hospital admission (mentally ill or suicidal)Control for treatment of medical emergency (ex: Excited Delirium Syndrome)

The end of SWAT as we know it (but a bright new future)

The days of the SWAT "bread truck" are left to 1970s television shows. Any disparity between SWAT cops and patrol officers continues to shrink. The gap that separated revolver-carrying beat cops and armor-clad SWAT operators has narrowed, evidenced by the superior equipment being deployed by everyday (and every night!) neighborhood police cars. Less obvious to the onlooker is the tactical training now available to patrol officers.

I have been saying it for years. There is no such thing as SWAT tactics - just POLICE tactics! Those who separate SWAT movements and strategies from those of the rest of police units have fallen for the Specialist trap. Today's SWAT teams must train and prepare so their movements smoothly integrate into any police department unit, assignment, or division for any problem or incident. And this means an end to the way we've come to know SWAT.

The vision

The military uses a phrase Force Multiplier. In civilian law enforcement, that term may not…