Integrated Use of Force
Integrated use of force shifts the focus from traditional force continuum training that is taught in defensive tactics to a constitutionally-based legal analysis. To effectuate this analysis, there must be at least a basic understanding of seminal Supreme Court cases and how lower courts apply the objective reasonableness standard to officers' actions. By developing a working knowledge of the process, officers become equipped to give critically important sufficient post-incident statements and testimony.
This knowledge also ties in closely with the qualified immunity defense. Law enforcement agencies and personnel are heavily dependent on qualified immunity for protection from excessive use of force suits. Administrators and officers routinely believe if they simply act in "good faith" that they cannot be held liable. This is not entirely true. An officer can be held personally liable if he deprives a suspect of a constitutionally protected right and that action was clearly established as a violation. Violations become clearly established through court decisions and case law. Case law is constantly changing and unless your agency provides this information or the individual officers take it upon themselves to conduct regular legal research, chances are they are not up to date on "clearly established" law.
Also, law enforcement agencies can be held liable if the claim is based on the implementation or execution of "a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by that party's officers". Agencies "may be sued for constitutional deprivations visited pursuant to governmental 'custom' even though such a custom has not received formal approval through the body's official decision making channels". The courts require a showing of "deliberate indifference" and there is a cause of action that arises under this theory specifically for failure to train. Accordingly, training curriculum should be continuously evaluated and revised to reflect current law.
Many States are passing legislation to reform police practices and implementing requirements for additional law enforcement training. Also, there are strong efforts to enact the policy changes to the following areas that are directly tied to use of force:
Warnings before shooting
Duty to intervene
Shooting at moving vehicles
Continuing and frequent training on use of force is a must and should address and provide current best practices regarding the topics listed above. CCG does just that through its custom integrated use of force courses centered around current case law that afford both officers and agencies adequate standing to assert a qualified immunity defense in "good faith".