POLICE Magazine

JUN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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50 POLICE JUNE 2019 officer • e proximity or access of weapons to the subject • Officer vs. subject factors such as age, size, relative strength, skill level, inju- ry/exhaustion, and number of officers vs. subjects • e environmental factors and/or oth- er exigent circumstances ARTICULATING WHY W hen writing your reports, when being interviewed about your incident, and when testifying about your incident, it would be helpful to apply the elements of the Graham factors template to ex- plain why you did what you did. Former police officer and prominent Los Angeles-based police defense at- torney Missy O'Linn says, "e ability of officers to recall, articulate, as well as implement what they have learned is as critical to officers as the split-sec- ond decision-making that officers face. You only get one chance to tell your side of the story. Being prepared to explain your actions may be even more import- ant than the actions themselves." In my experience, juries seem to un- derstand the Graham language. But in recent years, Graham's objectively reasonable standard has come under attack because some activists assert that it gives police too much latitude for use-of-force decisions. And language about whether the suspect's threat was "imminent" or "immediate" gets lots of attention in court. But let's be clear: you do not have to wait until the suspect is pointing the gun at you and pulling the trigger before you counteract the threat. In California, at the time of this ar- ticle, there is pending legislation (As- sembly Bill 392) that would greatly tie the hands of officers and even put them in jeopardy of prosecutions (more than they already are) in use-of-force sit- uations. If that California legislation passes and is signed into law, will more states pass similar laws? Will more offi- cers be prosecuted for their use-of-force decisions? Will more juries find in favor of the plaintiff in civil lawsuits? Time will tell the results, but it is certain that your job will be tougher than it already is. Greg Meyer is a retired Los Angeles Po- lice Department captain, a nationally recognized use-of-force expert, and a member of the POLICE Advisory Board since 1997. J TACTICS AND TRAINING I invite you to email me by June 30 at gregmeyer@earthlink.net with your thoughts about better policy, training, equipment, and tactics that might be incorporated into future articles in this series. Let's team up and share some ideas to benefit all of us in the profession.

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