In this module, you are required to read the article on Bivens from Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. The purpose of this article is to understand that a law enforcement officer is not immune from civil lawsuits.
Where once police and law enforcement agencies thought themselves immune, civil lawsuits against law enforcement officers are quite common nowadays. These lawsuits are based on whether the law enforcement officers correctly followed the guidelines meant to protect the citizens, guaranteed by the Constitution.
The purpose behind Bivens is to some extent protect private citizens from police misconduct. The other side of the coin is that if we so circumscribe the actions of officers, citizens may not be protected from the criminal acts of others. The point of the assignment is for you to begin to recognize this balancing act.
What You Are Required to Do . . .
Research on the Internet or the Argosy University Online Library and find some cases where officers have been sued in civil court for failing to follow the guidelines meant to protect the citizens from police misconduct.
By the due date assigned, in a minimum of 250 words, post your responses to the following topics in the Discussion Area.
- Describe a lawsuit, the issues involved in the trial, and the verdict. Do you think public safety in terms of the safety of the public was improved? Why or why not?
- As a law enforcement officer, what would your reaction be to being sued by a suspect in a case? How do you think that lawsuit would impact your personal life? How would you handle the pressure of being accused of violating the Constitution?
- Do you think you might change the way you would act as a law enforcement official if you were aware that you could be sued by a suspect you apprehended? In what way would it impact your duties as a law enforcement official?