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Expert Witness Explains Modern Police Practices in Civil Litigation

Police practices come under scrutiny when arrests are made. When the activity may require more force than usual, injury occurs or an action goes against what has been perceived as the law, civil litigation may be the end result and an expert witness may be needed to explain these practices to the court.

Well-established and modern law enforcement systems and standards are applied to the police force for all matters. This comes from training and work experience. Objective standards are in place so that litigation may be minimized even if the actions of officers appear to be questionable. When falling within the guidelines of these reasonable standards, an agent of the law may reduce or eliminate possible lawsuits. However, this sometimes requires an expert witness to detail to the courtroom when these methods are confusing or unknown to the judge or jury. When applying the circumstances of a claim to the incident, the expert must explain what a reasonably-trained and sensible police officer may have accomplished when in the same situation as the accused.

Modern and established practices police use for criminal and civil matters evolves as the decades progress.
The laws change slowly, but processes and procedures must adapt to society norms. To ensure police agencies maintain professional and respectful polices, administration must create, foster and change the overall agenda as the attitudes and minds of the public alter with the flow of time. Some practices become outdated such as keeping slaves, the ability to beat a spouse and the amount of punishment for children. For civil matters, law enforcement must enforce new legislation. Additionally, an expert witness may be required to explain these concerns to the courtroom based on the laws of the state.

What are Modern Police Practices?

Part of modern and well-established police practices is the Miranda Rights afforded to persons considered to have broken the law. Before these accused persons may be questioned or interviewed, they are given these Rights and the ability to contact a lawyer. Citizens are given respect and dignity. While there are television shows detailing the more aggressive tactics and sensational arrests, most individuals taken in are given the opportunity of privacy and a lack of publicity until reporters are involved. Most decisions made by law enforcement are unbiased and viewed as trustworthy overall. Modern practices for police involve a personal concern about the matter.

For law enforcement officers to appropriately take care of concerns with the public, they must connect. For the individual policeperson, he or she must have the approval and respect of the community he or she serves. This includes cooperation from citizens along with information provided for local criminals. To increase the ability and efficiency of practices, the officer should only use force when persuasion, warnings and advice on what to do have failed in the situation. For most circumstances, a gun should never be drawn. Only when life is threatened is excessive force acceptable, and even then it is avoided if possible.

The Expert Witness in Police Practices

An expert witness hired for litigation may need to explain that modern police practices view the importance of human life is held above all. De-escalation is necessary to keep certain situations from more aggressive results. It is crucial that an officer attempt to prevent other law enforcement from using excessive or proportionate force not equal to the crime. When following guidelines, these policepersons are able to keep the peace and bring in any accused perpetrators violating the law. The professional generally has a clear understanding of these processes through personal and practical experience. Some may have a background in law enforcement or criminal behavior education.

Through observance, experience, evaluation and education in law enforcement matters, an expert witness is more effective in the courtroom and explaining these modern police practices for litigation. It is possible that one officer did employ excessive force while another prevented him or her in harming the individual. The expert witness may also hold certain officers accountable for actions that violate the standard modern practices and protocols. The law enforcement agent may have been trained incorrectly or require additional practice before involvement in arrests is possible.

The Expert in Civil Litigation

Civil litigation often requires an expert witness to explain certain details or evidence. For police practices, he or she may need to detail the rules and procedures that should have been involved or if a violation occurred. Through his or her testimony, these matters should become clear.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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