I am awaiting my flight to Chicago, as I do every year in April. I am not traveling to Chicago to watch the Bulls play the Knicks or the White Sox play the Yankees. I am on my way to attend the 2012 ILEETA Conference. I have reviewed the itinerary and planned my time for the week ahead. I’ve chosen the moderators who can provide me with the best insight about today’s law enforcement issues.
ILEETA, International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, and the annual conference represent a commitment to law enforcement professionalism. When ILEETA is in session under one roof, law enforcement professionals address a host of issues by training, sharing information, and networking.
Many attendees are also instructors, presenting their own class at the conference. ILEETA and its membership greatly benefits from this practice. It’s unique to have people among you who are focused on delivering their own classes with excellence, as well as taking the time to get the most out of the conference as an attendee.
ILEETA’s staff coordinates a host of topics and perspectives offered each year, which draws the attention of law enforcement professionals throughout the United States. In addition to various, classes offered in cutting-edge law enforcement topics, certification courses are available for those interested in becoming more efficient, effective, and professional officers.
I have reached the conference, reviewing the scheduled classes with a cup of coffee in hand. I will be focusing on topics addressing use of force, constitutional law, training as well as progressive management related issues.
Brian McKenna: Legacy of Lakewood
I attended this class due to the overwhelming feeling I experienced when I first learned on November 29, 2009 four Lakewood, Washington police officers were killed in a coffee shop. The class was not critical of the officers killed. The presentation was treated as a learning experience. It was focused on asking what law enforcement can do to ensure police officers maintain situational awareness.
No video or audio was available for review. Information reviewed in class was provided by witnesses who reconstructed the sequence of events and crime scene information. One thing is known. These officers were ambushed.
Maurice Clemmons, the killer, stated prior to the incident that he disliked police officers, intended to kill them, and would not be taken alive. None of the individuals who heard these statements took the time to forewarn the police. Would this shooting have occurred if law enforcement had been notified? This incident reaffirms an old-time concept: officers must maintain situational awareness.
Dr. Olivia Johnson: Police Suicide – You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent
As I entered this class, the following data appeared on the PowerPoint screen: “By the time the ILEETA Conference is complete 10 officers in the U.S. will take their own lives.” That definitely grabbed my attention before the class began. I know two officers personally who took their own lives. The first incident occurred approximately 15 years ago. I responded to the scene where an officer took his life in a motel room. The second incident occurred recently while the officer was at home. Both officers used their firearm to commit suicide.
Before this class, I thought the primary cause of officer-related deaths had to do with auto accidents. The truth is that the primary cause of LEO death is suicide. Dr. Johnson, an LET writer, made clear in order to address the problem it must be recognized suicide exists within the law enforcement. Officers must be prepared to ACT!
Robert Douglas, the Director of the National Police Suicide Foundation, asks, “Isn’t anyone going to admit we have a problem? I do not have an answer to who will take the lead to address this situation, but I learned help is available. Safe Call Now was established by public-safety employees. Safe Call Now is a telephone call away and available nationwide. All calls are confidential and are open to officers, firefighters, EMTs, and family members when an officer needs assistance. Safe Call Now’s phone number is 206-459-3020. Information is available online at safecallnow.org. The mission statement is “saving the lives of those who protect us.”
Laura Scarry, Attorney at Law Shooting Dogs: Taking a Bite Out of the Constitution
The lesson of this class was that the shooting of a dog requires “objective reasonableness” to meet the protections of the Fourth Amendment. This amendment clearly states the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. A dog is now considered an “effect.” Officers must now complete thorough reports documenting the facts which will support the shooting of a dog was objectively reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances.
Susan Hamre: 10 Things Police Commanders Need to Know About Autism
I attended this class because I am concerned that autism and excited delirium result in police officers being called on scene as first responders for what are actually medical issues. Addressing medical incidents without an ambulance on scene concerns me because an officer may be held accountable for an in custody death following a use of force encounter with an individual. This class focused on using time, if possible, to gain compliance. It was learned if an individual is experiencing an “episode” it most often will pass if the person is not challenged.
Poppi Ritacco, Attorney at Law: “Say What?!”: A Survey of New 5th & 6th Amendment Supreme Court Law
The term “14-Day Day Rule” was coined in my presence in 2010. This rule in criminal justice pertains to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Maryland v Shatzer (No. 08-680). The Supreme Court ruled that police may re-open questioning of a suspect who asked for counsel if there has been a 14 day or more break since a suspect was in Miranda custody.
I considered this a major win for law enforcement until I took this course. During this class, I learned in custody Miranda is not limited to a particular case. For instance, if a suspect initially in Miranda custody is released upon his request to speak with an attorney law enforcement may place itself in grave danger should the interviewing detective wait 14 days to re-Mirandize the suspect without first inquiring if this suspect was arrested within the prior 14 days.
If police learn that the suspect was Mirandized by another department, the suspect may have the protection of speaking with an attorney even though the cases are unrelated. LEOs must understand this possibility exists. Should a statement be taken as permitted by the 14-Day Rule, the information obtained in the confession may not be admissible. Based on this ruling, best practices would dictate that officers ask during an interview or booking of a defendant if he/she has was arrested in the last 14 days prior to re-Mirandizing a suspect 14 days after an initial incident seeking to obtain a statement.
Michael Brave, Attorney at Law: Understanding, Analyzing, & Applying Force Standards of Accountability
Police use of force standards are continually scrutinized in court. Officers need to understand aside from documenting the facts to demonstrate that the actions taken meet the requirements of Graham v Connor and department policy, there may be other concerns. Concerns rise if a complete reconstruction of the facts is not properly documented.
Simply meeting the standards in place may create an issue if facts as reported do not explain why the level of force used was required. Officers need to focus on explaining the totality of the circumstances from start to finish. Circuit Courts are beginning to ask questions in addition to the Graham v Connor requirements. The picture painted by the officer’s report must demonstrate the evolving circumstances. The Circuit Courts are also questioning not only the officer’s actions, but asking if other force options were available and why they were not used.
There are many more instructors and topics offered at each ILEETA conference. ILEETA offers reminders of what we learned, information regarding what steps we must take, and provides insight into what may be expected due to changing times. I have been asked how I keep current with constant law enforcement changes. My answer is that I attend ILEETA every April. I have just arrived home, and I am already looking forward to the 2013 ILEETA Conference!
Jim Gaffney, MPA is LET’s risk management/police administration contributor. He has served with a metro-New York police department for over 25 years in varying capacities including patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and executive officer. He is an ILEETA and ICAP member. Jim mentors the next generation of LEO’s by teaching university-level criminal justice courses as an adjunct professor in the New York City area.