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Posted: 3/8/2012 3:27:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/8/2012 3:29:39 PM EST by ARJJ]
In interacting with my reserve unit's training captain, we've discussed the issue of failure to train. However, we have some hard-headed reserves who bitch and complain about training when it comes to the more advanced stuff (i.e., anything beyond annual qualification).

I've read articles about the so-called "failure to train" as it relates to the agency––or how agencies can find themselves liable if they cannot show that each officer received appropriate training. Inverserly, can individual officers find themselves liable (or can the agency be relieved of liability) if the agency can show that it offered whatever training and the officer failed to attend or refused to attend the training? Again, we're dealing with unpaid volunteers, so does this change things? If someone knows of case law in reference to this, please point me in the right direction.

The captain and I are trying to come up with ways to convince these same guys that the training we do is necessary for them to handle situations correctly.We're also trying to reinforce the value of training in lieu of going to the top admin and requesting "disciplinary" action be taken against the offenders.

Thanks for your help.
Link Posted: 3/8/2012 4:39:22 PM EST
Unpaid positions? Show them the door and get some people in there that want the experience and training.
Link Posted: 3/8/2012 4:47:08 PM EST
Monel vs new jersey offf the top of my head

Hope that helps
Link Posted: 3/8/2012 5:19:22 PM EST
I am not a lawyer and this is NOT legal advice.....I do not take any responsibility for accuracy or inaccuracy of anything that follows. Consult with proper counsel on this matter.....

Topics or definitions to consider. I am not going to get into lengthy definitions so Google will be your friend here.

- Respondeat Superior

- Deliberate Indifference

- Vicarious Liability

- Affirmative duty

- Title 42, U.S. Code Section 1983

- For a duty to train or failure to train, the courts have already set case precedent and defined that administrations have an affirmative duty to train sworn personnel acting under color of law. Any breach or neglect in this training upon injury or death of a potential plaintiff can result in personal liability of the administration. This can include potential vicarious liabilities to include any trainers / supervisors included. Paid employees or volunteer reserves are no different. If they are sworn with police powers acting under color of law, acting on behalf of the employer they are the same.

The courts have already determined via case precedence that there are certain topics involving LE that are so "patently obvious" or are considered to be so critically important that a failure to train or address these areas would pretty much be a default loss in regards to failure to train. Be sure to get up to date on these topics.

- Also consider that the courts have deemed that ANY qualifications no matter how many are conducted per year ARE NOT counted or considered as training and WILL NOT count as training in any given topic. Qualifications are only considered as a validation of a students actual training.

Some more relevant case laws that has helped to shape this topic
- Canton v. Harris
- Zuchel v. Denver
- Belcher v. Foley
- Brown v. Gray
- Young v. Providence
- Popow v. Margate
- McClelland v. Facteau
- Owens v. Haas
- Sager v. Woodland Park
- Oklahoma v. Tuttle
- Kibbe v. Springfield
- Reed v. Hoy

There are many more, but that should get you started.
Link Posted: 3/8/2012 9:55:05 PM EST
Firearms qualification is demonstration of the operation of a firearm and the ability to place X number of bullets on a target(s). Qualification does not reflect the conditions encountered in the field and the cognitive process of identifying threat targets, the action of engaging targets and the capability of the officer to complete necessary action and then explain their actions as well as being evaluated on all the aspects of their performance.

Alot of agencies still struggle with difference between qualification vs. training. Administration attitude/focus, training budget, officers attitude toward training, realistic motivated instructors and performance standards all work with or against each other to make or break this issue. It has only got worse here due to a shrinking budget.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 4:40:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By floridacop:
Alot of agencies still struggle with difference between qualification vs. training.

Mine doesn't, they just do qualification and no training.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 9:58:04 AM EST
Originally Posted By Extorris:
Originally Posted By floridacop:
Alot of agencies still struggle with difference between qualification vs. training.

Mine doesn't, they just do qualification and no training.


They are big enough that they flaunt their ineptness.

It's something that would legally skewer most other agencies sooner or later
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 11:41:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By Extorris:
Originally Posted By floridacop:
Alot of agencies still struggle with difference between qualification vs. training.

Mine doesn't, they just do qualification and no training.

They are big enough that they flaunt their ineptness.
It's something that would legally skewer most other agencies sooner or later

Yeah our city can afford to pay out lawsuit settlements.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 12:29:31 PM EST
Ours might be the worst....Here's a box of ammo,shoot half at the seven,the rest at 15. Let me know when you're done.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 1:07:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By stlshot:
Ours might be the worst....Here's a box of ammo,shoot half at the seven,the rest at 15. Let me know when you're done.


Thats not training
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 1:13:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By ARJJ:
Inverserly, can individual officers find themselves liable (or can the agency be relieved of liability) if the agency can show that it offered whatever training and the officer failed to attend or refused to attend the training?


If they refused or blew off training and the agency kept them then it is negligent retention.

What is the State minimum requirement for training? Did the POST set any standards?
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 1:20:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By stlshot:
Ours might be the worst....Here's a box of ammo,shoot half at the seven,the rest at 15. Let me know when you're done.

Pretty much the same here. 7, 15, and 25 yards.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 3:48:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By stlshot:
Ours might be the worst....Here's a box of ammo,shoot half at the seven,the rest at 15. Let me know when you're done.


Thats not training


Agreed. I believe there is case law on the matter stating that qualification is not condsidered training.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 4:31:05 PM EST
The department should have a policy stating specific training, re-certification training and a minimum of required training hours and maintain records for every employee. Training is PROTECTION from lawsuits.

If the department makes it a REQUIREMENT in order to maintain employment and sticks with the policy, that should cure the problem. If this isn't already a policy it should be. If they don't want to abide by that, I'm sure there are others that would be willing to.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 6:13:08 PM EST
Thank you all for your comments, especially the "negligent retention" and the POST requirements. I know there are a minimum number of annual training hours for full-time personnel; I am going to research the statutes concerning this and see if/how it applies to part-time/reserve personnel. I'll also research some of those court cases tomorrow at my side job and see what applies to this situation.

Please keep the comments coming––I'm forwarding some of them (web site and member info redacted, of course) to my captain.
Link Posted: 3/9/2012 9:16:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/9/2012 9:20:06 PM EST by floridacop]
"The captain and I are trying to come up with ways to convince these same guys that the training we do is necessary for them to handle situations correctly.We're also trying to reinforce the value of training in lieu of going to the top admin and requesting "disciplinary" action be taken against the offenders."

First a disclosure: I got my start in civilian law enforcement as a reserve while I was on active duty as a military cop, so I value good reserve, auxiliary and part time officers.

Sounds like a topic for someone to address directly with the reserve unit or the offenders who are slacking.

*Generally, reserve officers "serve at the pleasure" or "the will" of the chief/Sheriff. While active reserve officers are a force multiplier and their service is admirable, reserve officers traditionally have sought out the opportunity to serve. If they do not add to an agencies effectiveness and present a potential liability, their services are not needed.

*If your reserves wear the same uniforms and insignia as regular line officers (a good idea in my opinion) then they need to be trained to the same level. The ones that dont, need to evaluate why they want to serve with your agency. You could split the reserves into groups, say "fully trained" and "training impaired", and give the slackers different uniforms. Hell, you could have them tote revolvers till they want to actively participate in training, but in reality it puts the reserve officer, other officers and citizens in danger as they arent being trained and equipped in a standard that at least closely matches or matches a regular officer.

*They have been given a unique opportunity to serve in a profession that can be relitively exclusive. However, it is a profession where their lives and others can hang in the balance of how they perform. Training is one of the compenents that may allow them to prevail. If they dont care about their own safety, that is tragic, but to not care about their fellow officers and citizens borders on malfeasance. A cold blooded bad guy will not give any quarter to an officer because he is a volunteer. The reserve officer faces the same danger as a regular officer, its just the regular officer is exposed to it more often as he has more time in the field. The regular officer also will usually have more experience to bolster his training, unlike most reserve officers. This makes training crucial for reserve officers, who take much longer to get field experience.

*Finally, it pains me to say this, but look at your reserve officers and their performance. When I was a reserve, whe had what I called "badge wearers" and "badge carriers". "Badge wearers" were a small group. These are the people that wear the badge and uniform, hang out at the station shooting the shit, and show up at special details. They like to talk about cop stuff and may even do a little (usually riding second seat with a full timer), but never ride solo patrol or put pen to paper in regards to actually putting someone in jail. Then you have the "badge carrier", a guy who carries that badge and does the work. Someone who knocks out his training, gets solo qualified, and gets out there and puts in the work. He's the guy who will come in when he hears a shift is short, knows a busy holiday is comming up and volunteers to work and help out. It may be time to weed out the badge wearers. We had 2 reserve officers who were retired military guys whose kids were grown. They worked when we needed them and they were dead nuts reliable stand up guys. These 2 guys would get with the patrol shift commander and work day shift on christmas day so that 2 younger family guys could stay at home with their kids on christmas. These guys were one of us as far as we were concerned.
Link Posted: 3/10/2012 4:16:58 PM EST
I have a problem with turning green reserves out on the street with no experience. It is widespread in this area, and someone is always running to assist them on simple calls in which they have no clue. Our Chief was wanting to turn one of ours loose and asked my opinion. I told him that they should be required to ride with an experienced fulltime Officer for one year, before working by themselves. Administrators in this area are using people that simply aren't ready for solo patrol, and sooner or later someone is going to fuckup big time. Maybe a rude wakeup call is just what the doctor ordered.
Link Posted: 3/10/2012 5:04:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By Seneca-Cayuga:
I have a problem with turning green reserves out on the street with no experience. It is widespread in this area, and someone is always running to assist them on simple calls in which they have no clue. Our Chief was wanting to turn one of ours loose and asked my opinion. I told him that they should be required to ride with an experienced fulltime Officer for one year, before working by themselves. Administrators in this area are using people that simply aren't ready for solo patrol, and sooner or later someone is going to fuckup big time. Maybe a rude wakeup call is just what the doctor ordered.


How many shifts a week are these reserves of yours getting?
Link Posted: 3/10/2012 5:41:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By Seneca-Cayuga:
I have a problem with turning green reserves out on the street with no experience. It is widespread in this area, and someone is always running to assist them on simple calls in which they have no clue. Our Chief was wanting to turn one of ours loose and asked my opinion. I told him that they should be required to ride with an experienced fulltime Officer for one year, before working by themselves. Administrators in this area are using people that simply aren't ready for solo patrol, and sooner or later someone is going to fuckup big time. Maybe a rude wakeup call is just what the doctor ordered.


How many shifts a week are these reserves of yours getting?


Our reserves are not allowed to work solo patrol until they complete a number of required department training courses and dispatch & jail time. They must also be state certified as part time LEOs per state law. Once they complete all of the above, they patrol with an FTO until that FTO feels they are ready for solo work. While they go through all of that training, they work details like ball games, events at local community centers, parades, and the fair. They can also participate in checkpoints and ride along with other certified officers (full-time or reserve).

As for shifts or hours worked, the unit requires a minimum of 30 hours per month, be it patrol, details, meetings, training, etc. Those of us assigned to an actual patrol squad (of which there are four, with 5-6 deputies each) have a rotating on-call week. We are then assigned a patrol shift for that weekend. So in effect, we are required to work one patrol shift per month. Many reserves in the unit put in several shifts per month, or come out for a few hours at a time several times per week. I actually work the least number of hours of most reserves on patrol, but I also spend a good deal of time instructing/role-playing/doing whatever to help the training captain. I also am full-time LE certified and have worked a full-time LE job for several years, so it's not like I'm lacking experience.

The training that we're having difficulty getting participation in is not basic LE training or minimum standards stuff, it's the more advanced & "beyond the basics" stuff: Night fire, tactical shooting, traffic stops, scenario/FOF training. Very few members show up, and even more bitch and moan about having to be there. "Why do we have to do this?" and "Not even the full timers have to do this!" Incidentally, some of the loudest complainers are some of the poorest-equipped to deal with a situation. They think they already know how to do things, or even think they will respond differently in an actual incident than they did in training. (The old "rise to the occasion" myth.)

I researched state law today concerning minimum CEU hours for deputies; there is none. The only standards apply only to munipal chiefs and officers. My next step is to review my SOP to see if there is one concerning training. I've also relayed my findings of the case Belcher v. Foley, which addresses in part the failure of a chief to establish a written policy on a particular subject, to the training captain.
Link Posted: 3/10/2012 6:36:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By ARJJ:

The training that we're having difficulty getting participation in is not basic LE training or minimum standards stuff, it's the more advanced & "beyond the basics" stuff: Night fire, tactical shooting, traffic stops, scenario/FOF training. Very few members show up, and even more bitch and moan about having to be there. "Why do we have to do this?" and "Not even the full timers have to do this!" Incidentally, some of the loudest complainers are some of the poorest-equipped to deal with a situation. They think they already know how to do things, or even think they will respond differently in an actual incident than they did in training. (The old "rise to the occasion" myth.)
.


They have a good point. WHY do the full timers not have to go through that level of training?

It is unfortunate that they gripe so much.
Link Posted: 3/10/2012 8:35:23 PM EST
Our reserves are required to be state certified and have to complete the same training as a full time officer, which takes a full time officer 3 1/2 to 4 months to complete (4 phase FTO). The time it takes a reserve officer is obviously longer, but this weeds out people who arent serious and generally gives us a motivated reserve officer.

I'd have the reserve commander, deputy chief, or even the chief meet with the reserves and speak with them about training. Let the guys bitch and then explain the reasons, requirements and agency priorities. I would ask them if they thought the training on how to tactically engage tutu wearing polar bears of the free Artic Republic was a good class?" I would then tell them I didnt like the class and thats why they never attended it. If some still didnt get it, it would be thankyou for your service see Sgt. Smith and give him your ID card and arrange to turn in your equipment and uniforms. For those that do get it, I would thank them for their service and acknowledge that this often comes at the cost of family time and other activities. I would let them know that even though training is required by law, I want them to be as prepared as I can possibly get them to safely confront situations. If this means that regular officers receive extra training, it would be an insult to not give them the same training. Their lives are just as important as the guys who get a pay check.
Link Posted: 3/11/2012 9:47:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By ARJJ:

The training that we're having difficulty getting participation in is not basic LE training or minimum standards stuff, it's the more advanced & "beyond the basics" stuff: Night fire, tactical shooting, traffic stops, scenario/FOF training. Very few members show up, and even more bitch and moan about having to be there. "Why do we have to do this?" and "Not even the full timers have to do this!" Incidentally, some of the loudest complainers are some of the poorest-equipped to deal with a situation. They think they already know how to do things, or even think they will respond differently in an actual incident than they did in training. (The old "rise to the occasion" myth.)
.


They have a good point. WHY do the full timers not have to go through that level of training?

It is unfortunate that they gripe so much.


I suppose.

We pride ourselves on our ongoing training. The full timers will be the first to admit that we train more than they do, since they usually get paid for it. Our stance in the reserve unit is that the additional training helps to offset the lack of everyday experience that a full time deputy gets on the job. The training department of the reserve unit has also been charged with training all of the full-time deputies with patrol rifles.

I will personally say that the reserves are better trained and equipped than some full time agencies I've worked for.
Link Posted: 3/11/2012 10:41:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By ARJJ:

I suppose.

We pride ourselves on our ongoing training. The full timers will be the first to admit that we train more than they do, since they usually get paid for it. Our stance in the reserve unit is that the additional training helps to offset the lack of everyday experience that a full time deputy gets on the job. The training department of the reserve unit has also been charged with training all of the full-time deputies with patrol rifles.

I will personally say that the reserves are better trained and equipped than some full time agencies I've worked for.


Good justifications
Link Posted: 3/12/2012 5:15:48 PM EST
When I first started, you were required to be a reserve officer. Reserves, part time and full time officers were all required to attend the annual in service 40hr training. If you didn't show, you were asked to turn in all of your gear. No questions asked. You either trained or you didn't stay.
Link Posted: 3/28/2012 9:38:42 AM EST
It's not just your Dept. At my Dept, we have 6 full time (including Chief) and 9 or 10 part time. Part time are, for all intents and purposes, the same as full time. Full arrest powers, work by themselves, paid for their hours (not as much as full timers and have no benefits), the whole 9 yards.

We have the same issues with training, even with the full timers. I'm one of the firearms instructors, so I know of what I speak. No one wants to go unless they are paid, and even if they are paid, most bitch and complain the entire time. Our City is so close to being broke that training rarely happens and firearms training consists solely of annual State mandated qualifications. Since we don't have money to buy enough ammo for Officers to sign out for practice, no one practices (except me, but I see the need to maintain proficiency with my duty and backup/off duty guns and I reload, which cuts my costs considerably). We have to run some of them through the various qualification stages 4 or 5 times to finally get them to pass. The admin refuses to schedule or pay for more training, due to money issues, and insists that we HAVE to pass ALL Officers because we have no one to work shifts if we don't. We've informed them, in writing, about the whole "Failure to Train" issue, but they have the opinion that it hasn't happened here, therefore it WON'T happen here, Short sighted, dense, whatever you want to call it, there it is.

If the Officers refuse to attend training, refuse to take it seriously or refuse to even try, there's not much you can do. Speak to your Admin and see if they will do something about it. If they won't (like mine), then try to get the Admin to write you a memo to this effect. If they won't do that, about all you can do is make sure you document EVERYTHING! Document that this or that Officer refused to show up, document those that refuse to listen or do as they are told, document those that constantly bitch or complain, request any orders from superiors or Admin in writing. About all you can do at this point is try to reduce your liability in case something happens. Sooner or later, something WILL happen. All you can do is the best you can do.

Bub75
Link Posted: 3/28/2012 7:47:35 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/28/2012 7:53:08 PM EST by RogueSpear2023]
Years ago when I was a volunteer fireman, and more recently a volunteer first responder, and EMT you had make a certain number of trainings or you would be gone. It was written in the bylaws of the volunteer organization so their would be repurcussions if you decided or didn't show up to train. Most reserves units even unarmed that I know of have similar rules. You don't want train fine, hand in your stuff, see you later. If you don't have a policy like this you need one, or you could face seriously liability when one of them screws up, and if they aren't trained its not if, but when they screw up.

I am not sure how the paid full and part time staff work, but from what I have been told training is very lax. One of my friends is NRA Instructor and often invites the local departments out, to train on his shooting courses, usually they refuse saying essentially that they would be afraid if there were any members of the general public there they would be embarrassed by how ill trained of the officers and deputies are, so to avoid embarrassment they won't come. I do know that the paid officers will not train at all if not paid to do so which I can kind of agree with.
Link Posted: 3/29/2012 5:21:43 AM EST
Originally Posted By bub75:



We have the same issues with training, even with the full timers. I'm one of the firearms instructors, so I know of what I speak. No one wants to go unless they are paid, and even if they are paid, most bitch and complain the entire time. Our City is so close to being broke that training rarely happens and firearms training consists solely of annual State mandated qualifications. Since we don't have money to buy enough ammo for Officers to sign out for practice, no one practices (except me, but I see the need to maintain proficiency with my duty and backup/off duty guns and I reload, which cuts my costs considerably). We have to run some of them through the various qualification stages 4 or 5 times to finally get them to pass. The admin refuses to schedule or pay for more training, due to money issues, and insists that we HAVE to pass ALL Officers because we have no one to work shifts if we don't. We've informed them, in writing, about the whole "Failure to Train" issue, but they have the opinion that it hasn't happened here, therefore it WON'T happen here, Short sighted, dense, whatever you want to call it, there it is.

If the Officers refuse to attend training, refuse to take it seriously or refuse to even try, there's not much you can do. Speak to your Admin and see if they will do something about it. If they won't (like mine), then try to get the Admin to write you a memo to this effect. If they won't do that, about all you can do is make sure you document EVERYTHING! Document that this or that Officer refused to show up, document those that refuse to listen or do as they are told, document those that constantly bitch or complain, request any orders from superiors or Admin in writing. About all you can do at this point is try to reduce your liability in case something happens. Sooner or later, something WILL happen. All you can do is the best you can do.

Bub75


I feel your pain. Document everything so that if something bad happens, you've shown that you put them on notice and they opted to ignore your advice. CYA
Link Posted: 3/30/2012 10:29:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By RogueSpear2023:
Years ago when I was a volunteer fireman, and more recently a volunteer first responder, and EMT you had make a certain number of trainings or you would be gone. It was written in the bylaws of the volunteer organization so their would be repurcussions if you decided or didn't show up to train. Most reserves units even unarmed that I know of have similar rules. You don't want train fine, hand in your stuff, see you later. If you don't have a policy like this you need one, or you could face seriously liability when one of them screws up, and if they aren't trained its not if, but when they screw up.

I am not sure how the paid full and part time staff work, but from what I have been told training is very lax. One of my friends is NRA Instructor and often invites the local departments out, to train on his shooting courses, usually they refuse saying essentially that they would be afraid if there were any members of the general public there they would be embarrassed by how ill trained of the officers and deputies are, so to avoid embarrassment they won't come. I do know that the paid officers will not train at all if not paid to do so which I can kind of agree with.


We have this issue, too. Usually, during the summer, I try to make it out to the range AT LEAST monthly, usually every 2 weeks or so. I have told EVERYONE at the PD that I go out and that they are more than welcome to join me and I will help them out with any issues. The only things are, 1. They have to bring their own ammo (see my post about no ammo being available from the PD to train, and I'm too poor to provide it to them) and 2. It's unpaid. NO ONE has EVER showed up. NO ONE! They are too cheap, too short sighted, too whatever, to go to WallyWorld and buy a Value Pack and won't come out unless paid. NO ONE seems to realize that, if you ever need your duty gun, you need it RIGHT EFFING NOW, you need to be GOOD with it and you need to be EFFECTIVE with it! They all have the attitude that, since they have been to training (annual quals ARE NOT training!), they are better than anyone and they will have no problem. Never mind that, when we do go qual, most can't hit a stationary piece of paper with little stress from 21 feet. IDIOTS, but not much you can do except document it and reduce your liability.

Bub75
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