Split-Second Syndrome & Officer Created Jeopardy: Implications for Agency Policy




Keyes, Vance D.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



As a consequence of public safety, officers at times must use deadly force to protect themselves and others. Professional, respectful, effective and accountable policing demands that this use of force be subjected to and withstand not only legal, but ethical scrutiny regarding such a controversial topic. The ability to justify an act does not make it necessary and deadly force by police officers is the rule, not the exception. Police officers are often thrust into unpredictable and stressful situations, where their reactions have grave consequences. Police agencies have an obligation to ensure their officers are trained in best practices regarding force. Police agencies should implement policy that prohibits officer created jeopardy. Policy implementation which communicates a sanctity for life demonstrates that police agencies are sincere in preserving life whenever possible. This is best communicated by clear policy that promotes safety for citizens and officers. The purpose of this paper is to identify the need for policy governing officer behavior, which will promote uniformity, consistency, and best practices. Incorporating such policy will not adversely impact an officer’s ability to perform their duties and will enhance safety for all.


Police Training, Police Discretion, Police Ethics