Whether or not to use force is the most serious decision and one of the most significant interactions law enforcement officers can have with citizens. The decisions made by political and administrative officials when they determine matters of policy, or the decisions made by individual officers in split seconds, may be of life or death importance. The determination of the proper use of force by law enforcement at both administrative and individual levels is crucial for both law enforcement and for the public to maintain order, protect society, enforce just laws, and reasonably respect and protect the rights of civilian citizens. Typically a successful use of force accomplishes an actual seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore seizures are examined as Fourth Amendment issues in this book. The most basic and generalizable legal standard for the use of force is "reasonableness", and this book examines the reasonableness of the use of force in a number of situations, both real and hypothetical. Reasonable Use of Force by Police is intended for use in police training, police departments, universities, and by anyone interested in understanding the standards of reasonable use of force by police and other law enforcement officers.
The Authors: David A. May is Professor of Government at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Washington State University. James E. Headley received his J.D. from Gonzaga University's School of Law in Spokane, Washington and is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Eastern Washington University.