Freddie Gray trial highlights potential of constitutional policing
- Written by Amy Dinsmore
- September 15 2015
Any case of police violence can quickly become complex and charged with political ramifications. Law enforcement agencies are often put in difficult positions during such investigations, and life can be easier for all involved if police and state attorneys have clear documentation detailing how officers were trained. Constitutional policing procedures are playing a growing role in protecting law enforcement officers against litigation, and cost-efficient document management software makes it easier for organizations to establish best practices and verify that all officers are in compliance.
The legal benefits of well-documented constitutional policing policies are particularly evident in the Freddy Gray case. A recent City Paper report explained that document records pertaining to internal training could be considered into evidence to protect officers against legal action.
Documentation, constitutional policing protecting officers
According to the news source, the attorneys representing the police officers involved in the Freddy Gray case are concerned that the investigation surrounding the incidents of violence is charged with political motivations. While proving that politics are the primary reason why officers are being prosecuted is nearly impossible, the defense hopes it will be able to demonstrate that officers did not perform significant independent investigations during the case, something that would show that the police were following established best practices.
To support this goal, the defense is hoping to subpoena training and policy documentation as evidence in the case, the report explained. If these training documents show that officers were taken through constitutional policing training, the defense would have a strong case. At this point, a request to subpoena training documentation has been denied, but the judge said that a more specific request would likely be granted. The defense hopes to use training documentation to prove that officers were following acceptable best practices.
Using document management to show compliance with constitutional policing initiatives
The principles surrounding constitutional policing have the potential to revolutionize how law enforcement agencies interact with the community. However, transitioning operational models to support such efforts requires extensive training.
Training alone is not enough to protect against legislation. Law enforcement agencies must also prove that they have put all officers through that training. Accreditation can go a long way in such efforts, as a certification will show that you’ve created necessary policies and put proper measures in place to ensure all workers go through internal policy education.
A document management software platform can help you create, organize and distribute all of your training documents to employees across organizational and geographic boundaries. Modern solutions deliver the entirety of the application through a web app, allowing employees to access training materials from diverse locations and using a variety of device types. The software will also be able to support electronic signatures, letting officers sign off on policies directly in the platform – no more printing, scanning and emailing.
Constitutional policing is changing the way law enforcement agencies interact with the community, and modern document management tools are making it easier to demonstrate compliance and ensure officers can stand up to litigation.