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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201155 Find in a Library
Title: Firearms Instructors Under Fire
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:51  Issue:6  Dated:June 2003  Pages:84-87
Author(s): Steven J. Hill
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 4
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: By providing and documenting a carefully planned, reality-based course of firearms training supervised by qualified instructors, the civil liability of the department in use-of-force cases will be limited, as will the risks to the officer and the public.
Abstract: This article draws a distinction between firearms qualification and firearms training. The purpose of qualification is to have an officer demonstrate and quantify his/her ability to use a firearm accurately and safely. Firearms training, on the other hand, provides the officer with tactical exercises that conform to both practical skills and the department's use-of-force policy. Both types of training are essential for ensuring that officers are prepared to use their firearms only under conditions specified by departmental policy, and then in such a manner that officer safety and the safety of bystanders on the scene are given high priority. Firearms instructors have the responsibility of ensuring that recruit and veteran officers can not only fire their weapons accurately, but also that they comply with the standards of tactical decisionmaking set by the department. It is inevitable that police departments will be sued in many cases in which officers' use of their firearms have resulted in persons' injuries or deaths. In examining such cases, courts have focused not only on the written use-of-force policies of the department, but also on whether or not officers were actually trained to follow those procedures. This requires that firearms instructors and those who manage such training maintain accurate records on the training received and performance achieved by each officer. Should an officer fail to comply with the training he/she received in his/her actions at issue in a lawsuit, then courts have tended to find the individual officer liable but not his/her department.
Main Term(s): Police firearm training
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Lawful use of force; Legal liability; Police instructor training; Police instructors; Police policies and procedures; Police use of deadly force
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