The Evolution of Use of Force

On July 13, 2023 NACOLE welcomed Ashley Heiberger to address the three primary standards under which force is evaluated, i.e., the criminal, constitutional, and agency administrative standards. He also examined force concepts and principles being debated across the country. The presentation included statistics regarding fatal officer-involved shootings and subsequent prosecution of officers, as well as trends in police shootings and firearms discharges more generally. In addition, the presentation included the following:

  • A constitutional discussion provided current legal rules regarding the use of deadly force against fleeing felons (Tennessee v. Garner), the use of force generally (Graham v. Connor), and the expanded definition of a “seizure” (Torres v. Madrid).
  • A look at the federal statutes with particular relevance given to 42 USC § 1983 (enabling those who allege constitutional violations to bring private civil actions), 18 USC § 242 (allowing for federal prosecution for alleged deprivation of constitutional rights), and the former 42 USC § 14141 (authorizing the DOJ to conduct investigations of agencies, and provide oversight if a pattern or practice of constitutional violations is noted).
  • A look at the evaluation of the practical limits of human performance during the stress of critical incidents through an examination of police shooting accuracy, as well as aspirational standards favored by those seeking more democratically responsive policing.