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    Officers May Rely on Information Provided By School Officials

    Many times police officers assigned to schools or police officers that are called to schools must make decisions regarding arrest based upon information provided by school officials. A recent case decided by a federal court in New York reiterated that police officers may rely upon the information provided by school officials in establishing probable cause to arrest. Foy v. City of ...
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    Tasered Spectator Has Potential Case of Excessive Force and Unlawful Arrest

    Following a day of watching races at the Gateway International Raceway, Christopher DeSalvo was watching guests of the Holiday Inn do “burnouts” with their vehicles in the rear lot of the hotel. Approximately 100-150 guests were gathered for the show. The gathering and the vehicle “burnouts” prompted the response of the police. Officer Krug, upon responding a second time to the ...
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    Warrantless Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Often questions arise as to whether a police officer needs a search warrant in order to search a motor vehicle. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of the United States has a fairly extensive body of law commonly called the “automobile exception” or the Carroll Doctrine which gives clear direction to police officers on this topic. However, individual states, in interpreting their state ...
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    Tasers® and the Use of Force

    One of the more significant current issues in law enforcement’s use of force is the Taser® and its use. While many of the criticisms are focusing on cases where an officer uses a Taser® and the subject later dies, the more prominent cases are those where officers mistake their firearm for their Taser® and end up shooting the subject. Training from ...
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    Immigration and Nationality Act

    The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952. Before the INA, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The Act has been amended many times over the years, but ...
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    Use of Deadly ForcePre-Shooting Events Impacting Reasonableness of Shooting

    An on-going issue in deadly force cases is how courts will review the totality of circumstances surrounding the shooting and how officer tactics and actions before the shooting may have an impact on the reasonableness of the use of deadly force. Some of the federal circuits view the “totality of circumstances” as only that moment in time where the officer pulls ...
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    USA PATRIOT Act

    HR 3162 RDS 107th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 3162 IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES October 24, 2001 Received -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AN ACT To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United ...
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    Use of Deadly Force Pre-Shooting Conduct and the 21 Foot Rule

    A circumstance that officers often face is the suicidal individual who, in essence, holds him or herself hostage. These are difficult cases. While such cases require a police response, officers sometimes are caught between a rock and hard place. Much has been written about the concept of “suicide by cop” but the fact remains that officers are often called to deal ...
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    The Need for IA/OPS Audits

    Legal and Liability Risk Management Institute Public Agency Training Council Generally law enforcement agencies have operated their IA/OPS system with little oversight. That's coming to an end. More communities, particularly those in large urban areas, are instituting some form of external review. In some communities it's a form of civilian review. Since 1997, numerous police agencies have come under the scrutiny ...
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    Retention of ID During a Consensual Encounter

    Golphin v. Florida, No. SC03-554 (December 14, 2006) The Supreme Court of Florida recently decided an important case regarding consensual encounters. In Golphin v. Florida , two police officers were on patrol in an area of Daytona Beach that is known for prostitution and narcotics traffic. The police officers were specifically in that area to conduct field interviews with individuals in ...
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    Electronic Communications Privacy Act

    2701. Unlawful access to stored communications (a) Offense.— Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section whoever— (1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or (2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in ...
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    US Supreme Ct - Randolph v. Georgia

    Police Cannot Use the Consent of a Co-Occupant to Make Entry in Order to Search for Evidence to be used Against the Opposing Occupant who Is Present and Objects to the Entry. Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. ___, slip op. 04-1067 (3/22/06). The United States Supreme Court further clarified the rules regarding consent searches in homes in Randolph v. Georgia, decided ...
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    Overview of Police Liability

    While police officers may believe that they will be exposed to liability for all of their actions, both proper and improper, the fact of the matter is that most courts have avoided second-guessing police actions and have only sanctioned the most egregious conduct. There are various levels of liability that may exist when an officer’s actions are deemed improper. The purpose ...
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    Training Issues With Respect to Warrant Execution

    Officers must be trained for the recurring tasks which the particular officers may face. The training a particular officer must receive will be determined by the officer’s assignment. For example, a rookie officer that is not allowed to draft search warrants would not need to be trained in the drafting of search warrants, whereas a detective that will be regularly drafting ...
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    Police Involvement Does Not Always Invalidate Search

    An issue that is often raised in school search cases is the question as to what level of police involvement will require that a search be supported by probable cause rather than the reasonable suspicion standard allowed for school officials. A case on point was decided by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently. In the Interest of A.D., 844 A.2d 20 ...
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    Preparing a Defense in Law Enforcement Litigation: A Formula for Law Enforcement

    Any significant law enforcement event has the potential to develop in a claim made against the agency and the officers involved. The likelihood of a lawsuit is enhanced when individuals involved in the event are injured or claim a violation of their rights at the outset. Depending upon the nature of the event and the public interest involved, the media may ...
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    Unreasonable Frisk May Lead to Liability

    In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the United States Supreme Court authorized police officers to stop and detain individuals where the officer had reasonable suspicion (some facts and circumstance but less than probable cause) to believe that the person to be stopped was involved in criminal activity. Officers were authorized to use force, short of deadly force to accomplish ...
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    Statute of Limitation Thwarts Sex-Abuse Claim

    A former parochial school student who was sexually abused by a teacher cannot proceed with a lawsuit because a Nebraska state statute prevents the filing of claims after a specific time period. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that, although there was enough evidence to find that T. Mark Kraft was sexually abused by teacher Arlen Meyer in the ...
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    Student showing propensity for violence can be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation

    Demers v. Leominster School Dept., 263 F.Supp. 2d 195 (Dist. MA 2003). Michael Demers and his parents filed a federal lawsuit against school officials after he was suspended from school following his refusal to undergo a psychiatric exam. The suit alleged among other things, a violation of Michael’s due process rights. School officials sought to have Michael psychiatrically examined after he ...
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    U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit and Federal Liability forEmergency Vehicle Operation

    An area where few federal lawsuits have occurred has been where a collision occurs at the result of a police officer’s emergency vehicle response to an in-progress radio call. A new case from the United States Court of Appeal for the 8th Circuit may expose public safety agencies to further liability in federal court based upon non-pursuit emergency vehicle operation. In ...
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