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The Law and Best Practices of Successful Police Operations, 3rd Edition (2013)








~ The most comprehensive law enforcement LIABILITY and BEST PRACTICES manual in the country! ~


New 3rd Edition now includes 417 pages of best practices and
critical task liability issues for law enforcement.

While law enforcement agencies have volumes of policies covering every conceivable task, exposure to liability is generally limited to a few recurring tasks in law enforcement. In fact, G. Patrick Gallagher, one of the first to recognize the importance of pro-active risk management in law enforcement has said that 95% of law enforcement liability comes from only 12 tasks. Liability most frequently occurs when officers violate some legal mandate.

The legal mandates that direct law enforcement operations come from court decisions decided by the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts as well as state court decisions. The purpose of this manual is to examine the 12 high risk critical tasks in law enforcement. It serves as a comprehensive guide to the legal trends impacting the law enforcement profession.

The manual is set out in twelve distinct sections, each covering one of the critical tasks. Some of the sections include, by necessity, several subsections covering particular areas of the task under review. An example is search, seizure and arrest which examines multiple facets of this task.

By providing law enforcement personnel with a reference source to the legal trends in the profession, officers will be in a stronger position to avoid liability.


Chapter 1 Overview of Liability

  • Civil Actions
  • Criminal Actions
  • Understanding Summary Judgment and Qualified Immunity in the Defense of Law Enforcement Officers

Chapter 2 Use of Force

  • Deadly/Non-Deadly
  • Handcuffing
  • Managing the Risk of Handcuffs
    • Identified Risk 1-Tightness of Handcuffs
    • Identified Risk 2-Person with Pre-Existing Injury
    • Identified Risk 3-Handcuffing for Officer Safety
    • Avoiding/Controlling Risk
  • Empty Hand Control
    • TASER, the Target Zone, Policy & Training
    • Products Liability
    • TASER ECDs are NOT Deadly Force for Purposes of Law Enforcement Liability
  • Secondary Impact
  • Drive-Stun_lower on the Hurt Scale
  • Pepper-Spray
  • Beanbag Rounds
  • Seizure at Gunpoint
  • Use of Canines
  • Duty to Intervene In Excessive Force Cases

Chapter 3 Deadly Force

  • Pre-Shooting Conduct
    • First Circuit
    • Second Circuit
    • Third Circuit
    • Fourth Circuit
    • Fifth Circuit
    • Sixth Circuit
    • Seventh Circuit
    • Eighth Circuit
    • Ninth Circuit
    • Tenth Circuit
    • Eleventh Circuit
  • Deadly Force to Prevent Escape


  • Motor Vehicle Pursuit
  • Example State Law Claims
  • State Specific Materials

Chapter 5 ARREST/Search & Seizure

  • United States Constitution
  • Levels of Proof
  • Citizen Contacts - Consensual Contacts
  • Seizures of Property
  • Stops based upon Reasonable Suspicion of Criminal Activity
    • All Stops Do Not Justify a Frisk
    • Reasonableness of Handcuffing during a valid “Terry Stop”
    • Anonymous Tips and Motor Vehicles
    • Probable Cause
  • Disorderly Conduct Arrests/Filming Officer Conduct
  • Strip Searches

Chapter 6 Motor Vehicle Contacts

  • Routine Traffic Stop
    • Ordering the Occupants Out of the Vehicle
    • Privacy Rights of Passengers
  • Frisk of Passenger
    • “Stop” and “Frisk” of a Vehicle
    • Vehicle Stops: Does a Motorist have a Privacy Interest in their License Plate
  • Consent Search of Motor Vehicles
  • “Incident to Arrest Search-Vehicle”
  • Canine Sniffs of Automobiles
  • Probable Cause Searches of Motor Vehicles “The Motor Vehicle Exception”
  • Inventory Searches of Motor Vehicles
  • Community Care-taking Search of Motor Vehicle
  • Roadside Checkpoints

Chapter 7 Entering and Searching Homes

  • The Concept of “Standing”
  • Consensual Entries/Searches of Homes
    • Arrest warrant/suspect’s home
    • Search Warrants
    • Knock and Announce
    • Detaining and Frisking Persons Present During the Execution of a Search Warrant
    • Exigent Circumstance Entries/Crime Scene Exigency
  • “Search Incident to Arrest” in a dwelling:
    • Curtilage
    • The Plain View Doctrine
    • Plain Touch
  • The Exclusionary Rule: The Use of Out of Court Statements (Spontaneous Utterances and the Constitution)


  • The Sixties and Before
  • Additional Miranda Issues
  • Triggering the need for warnings
  • Waiver of Rights/Invocation of Rights
  • The Impact of Violating the Miranda Rule
    • Intentional Pre-Miranda Questioning
    • The Impact of Miranda Violations on Physical Evidence Located as the Result of the Suspect’s Admissions



  • Duty to Protect Prisoners
  • Jail Suicides
  • Medical Needs of Prisoners
  • Policy Issues

Chapter 11 Officer Involved Domestic Violence

  • Convictions for DV Related Offenses and the Impact on Agency Employees

Chapter 12 Property & Evidence

Chapter 13 Off-Duty Issues

Chapter 14 Sexual Harassment/Discrimination/Misconduct

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sex Discrimination/Orientation

Chapter 15 Selection Hiring Retention

Chapter 16 Internal Affairs &Complaints

  • The Administrative Interview
  • Transactional Immunity
  • Employee Claims
  • Search of Officer’s Text Messages from Department Issued Pager was Reasonable
  • Seizure of the Police Officer
  • Covert Video Surveillance
  • Compelled Substance Abuse Testing
  • Financial Disclosure/Obtaining Personal Financial Information
  • An Officer’s Right to Privacy And HIPAA
  • Due Process Rights of Police Officers
  • Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights
  • External Liabilities of Internal Affairs

Chapter 17 Special Operations SWAT Narcotics High-Risk Entry

  • Special Operations
  • The Decision to Use a Specialized Team
  • Policy and Training
  • Hitting the Wrong House-Policy/Training/Aftermath
  • Execution Issues
  • Use of Flash-Bang May Constitute Excessive Force

Chapter 18 Persons of Diminished Capacity

  • Use of Force-Emotionally Disturbed and Mentally Ill Persons
  • Are you providing reasonable training and policy direction on the handling of the mentally ill and emotionally disturbed persons? By Lou Reiter
  • Persons with Disabilities Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Disability in the Broad Sense
    • The ADA Application to Law Enforcement

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 16 December, 2008.

WSTC 2017

WSTC 2017


September 6  Legal Update
Excessive Friendliness

August 30  Legal Update
Arson Investigation

August 23  Legal Update
Citizen Complaint - Follow Procedures

August 16  Legal Update
No Warrant for Residence

View Legal Article Archive



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