OFFICER SAFETY / SEARCH & SEIZURE LAWS

Copyright 1997 - 2015  Edward S. Armstrong, Jr.

All law enforcement officers must confer with their training officers, legal advisors and prosecutors regarding the following legal issues. State law can be more restrictive (pro-defendant) than Federal law. Federal circuit courts of appeal often disagree with other Federal circuit courts on issues not yet decided by the United States Supreme Court. Also, lower courts (State and Federal) sometime disagree on what a Supreme Court decision means. The following statements are not to be taken as legal advice.

 

Back To Index Page

V. USE OF FORCE – OFFICER SAFETY

 

1. Force - When making a Terry stop or arrest, Police may use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to accomplish it. Police use of force must be objectively reasonable under the circumstances, Graham v. Connor (1989).

2. Deadly Force - Police may use deadly force if (a) probable cause exists that a suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm to Police or others, or (b) probable cause exists that a suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm and will escape, and (c) if feasible, a warning that deadly force will be used, Tennessee v. Garner (1985), Plumhoff v. Rickard (2014)

(NOTE: Many law enforcement departments and agencies place greater restrictions on its officers than the Supreme Court does in Tennessee v. Garner. Some require the threat under (a) to be imminent and do not allow deadly force to be used under (b). Every law enforcement officer must be sure of his department or agencys deadly force policy)   

NOTE: All law enforcement officers must confer with their training officers, legal advisors and prosecutors regarding the following legal issues. State law can be more restrictive (pro-defendant) than Federal law. Federal circuit courts of appeal often disagree with other Federal circuit courts on issues not yet decided by the United States Supreme Court. Also, lower courts (State and Federal) sometime disagree on what a Supreme Court decision means. The above statements are not to be taken as legal advice.


Back To Index Page