Magazine article Law & Order

Certified or Lose in Court

Magazine article Law & Order

Certified or Lose in Court

Article excerpt

CBS recently ran an investigative report on canine officers who made big hits on drug couriers only to have the cases thrown out because the dogs or handlers were not certified. While the media rarely gets the story straight from a police perspective, this time they were right on the money.

That broadcast serves as a heads-up to chiefs and sheriffs everywhere. If your officers are supposed to be certified in any specialized area, they need to be certified. Simple as that. And they need to keep their certs up to date.

Virtually every officer in the United States carries OC pepper spray. Have they been trained and certified in its use, and maintained periodic training? How about the officers carrying batons, either sidehandle or collapsible? How about the officer who deploys chemical agents on your SWAT team?

How about those officers armed with bean bag (less-lethal) munitions? How about armed with the PepperBall® style launchers? How about the thousands of officers now armed with Tasers®? How about your radar, lidar or VASCAR® traffic officers? How about the DUI task force... Gaze Nystagmus?... field sobriety?

How about your evidence technicians and forensic lab folks? They have more whiz-bang gear than the patrol guys. Actually, the list of skills and tasks for which certification is required is extremely long.

The lesson here is the department can lose in court, even if the investigative or policing technique was properly performed! Can you imagine the liability exposure to your department if the technique was not performed correctly? …

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