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The Determinant Factor week 2 discussion 2

 While examining how federal statues and court decisions affect law enforcement training, relate deliberate indifference to the actions or training conducted by the organization or municipality. What circumstances in City of Canton v. Harris brought about the court’s evaluation of deliberate indifference? How do federal statutes impact or influence inadequate or improper training by law enforcement, specifically through Title 42, U.S. Code, Section 1983? Does a finding of deliberate indifference take into consideration either the inability or unwillingness to follow or understand the specific training?

Our discussion first, then the individuals response, tell the bad and good of post list references

(Ra)Deliberate indifference is essentially someone who knows or should have known the risks of a given activity, but continues on, disregarding those risks. Deliberate indifference is a huge issue in the corrections world, because we are responsible for the health and wellbeing of inmates, and we are obligated to at least look into every complaint, because failing to do so places liability on the officer and the department. This can also come into play with housing of inmates. If we know an inmate is a threat risk, or protective custody, and we disregard the risk, we are liable for any damages. In the case of City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, A female was demonstrating obvious medical issues, however the officers refused to provide medical assistance, and as a result, upon her release she required hospitalization and outpatient treatment (O’Keefe, 2004 p. 193). The officers’ disregard for the apparent visible signs of potential medical problems, including her being incoherent amounted to a violation of the 14th amendment for failing to provide medical care for her while in their custody. A department should be able to train to avoid deliberate indifference claims by first of all ensuring that all officers are very familiar with the definition of deliberate indifference, and closely monitoring treatment of offenders. In case of Ohio v. Harris, tour commanders were expected to determine if individuals needed medical attention, but they were not properly trained to do so. This placed liability on the department who had placed expectations on officers without proper training. This failure to train is what escalated the case to the US Supreme court and ultimately led to the section 1983 liability ruling by the court. Failing to train amounts to deliberate indifference because officers who are expected to perform certain duties without training cannot fully perform these duties.

The term deliberate indifference inherently implies that the action was intentional, therefore inability to follow or understand would not fall on the individual officer, but potentially the department for knowing the officer did not understand, but still expecting performance as if he did understand. Unwillingness would be difficult to differentiate from unknowing, unless proper documentation is provided that training was successfully completed by the officer. Ultimately it becomes a game of department documenting training vs. officers ability to rely on the training provided.  The department has an obligation to the public to ensure that the officers employed there are highly trained to handle any and all situations, and there simply is no room for sloppy, lazy or uncaring individuals who won’t do the job.

O’Keefe, J. (2004).Protecting the republic: The education and training of American police officers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

 
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