Civil & Criminal Liability

PSSG is available to advise public safety agencies on how to best avoid the pitfalls of any civil liability lawsuits and most importantly, avoiding successful civil liability lawsuits. Additionally, there is always a small possibility of criminal prosecutions in particularly egregious occurrences.

Lawsuits, both civil and criminal, against public safety agencies have become much more frequent in the last 25 years, with the advent of more Section 1983 usage and as our society, in general, becomes more litigious in nature. This is a growing problem in all areas of public safety work regardless of the size or location of your agency.

The following are just a small topical area of possible liability concerns for public safety agencies:

  1. State Negligent Torts or 1983 General Topics: excessive use force; false arrest and imprisonment; unlawful detention; unlawful searches and seizures; assault and battery; malicious prosecution; improper vehicle pursuits; failure to arrest; failure to protect; failure to render assistance; failure to render appropriate assistance; etc.
  2. Personnel Issues: negligent hiring, firing or retention; inadequate supervision; inadequate training; negligent supervision or direction negligent assignment; negligent failure to discipline or investigate; sexual harassment, disability issues (ADA); drug testing issues; termination or firing issues, etc.

PSSG will help public safety agencies draft or re-draft your “policies and procedures to address the above areas in a manner consistent with current applicable laws and interpretations, both statutory and case law. This is a huge step in avoiding some of the possible pitfalls set forth above. There are also issues of immunity and protections from liability for every level of justice, regardless of the size of your agency, which can be addressed in your policies.

Additionally, PSSG will help in making your policies to be more than just written documents. Training and education programs are essential for all levels of public safety personnel. PSSG can help direct the public safety agency in this area as well, so that your directives are used and learned upon in a positive and active manner.