When I assist law enforcement agencies with the development of policies and procedures, I often ask them to picture their organization as a ladder. This ladder is an easy way to think about who is responsible for what, and how much a lawsuit may cost them when different levels, or rungs, are involved in the litigation. I refer to this as the ladder of liability.

Each rung has a unique set of responsibilities and provides protection needed to support the agency. When equipped with the proper policies, training and knowledge, the outcome will be reduced risk and ultimately fewer lawsuits. As you’ll see, as risk ascends the ladder, the higher the dollar amount associated with the ensuing lawsuit.


About the Author

Attorney Daigle acts as a legal advisor to police departments across the country. He provides legal advice to law enforcement command staff and officers in the areas of legal liability, internal affairs, discipline, policy drafting, employment issues, use of force, laws of arrest, and search and seizure. His experience focuses on officers’ use of force, specifically in the training, investigation and supervision of force, as well as deadly force incidents involving law enforcement. Many departments have retained him to assist with the review, development, and revision of department policies to maintain and reflect current police practices. Attorney Daigle serves as a member of independent monitoring teams and acts as an auditor in reviewing police department organizational compliance with procedural revisions directed or overseen by the Federal court system.