Law and the Use of Force
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Law and the Use of Force book
This chapter considers the effect of law and litigation on agency policies and procedures. Criminal justice personnel must know the law. For most of the country's history, law enforcement has been the responsibility of state and local officers. The use of force by law enforcement is considered a seizure and so constitutionality turns on the reasonableness of the force. One legal theory that has been used in lawsuits is supervisory liability. Litigation and lawsuits continue to affect both law and agency policies. State laws, federal law, and case law all provide direction and guidance on various aspects of force usage. For much of the country's history, state law was the primary source of legal authority on matters of force usage by local and state law enforcement officers. The federal laws discussed in the chapter had not yet been fashioned or arrived at through case law interpretation.