Tasers or stun guns form an important part of law enforcement’s crime control arsenal, especially as police face increased pressure to use non-lethal force. However, Portland police face possible legal and regulatory ramifications from ongoing misuse and overuse of the technology. Changes in department policy have been aimed at limiting an individual suspect’s exposure to the unpleasant effects, from the number of instances (3) to the duration of the effect (5 seconds). Even altering the stun guns to only operate in 5 second cycles has limited effectiveness, as officers can quickly begin another cycle. Misuse of this technology had drawn the attention of federal authorities earlier, along with other errors.
One of the most important currencies in the legal system, and perhaps the most important, is trust. Every actor in a functional system relies on trust, from lawyers to clients, lawyers to judges, and all of them to citizens. An aspect of this trust is predictability; hearings will be conducted at particular times, according to certain rules, and so forth. It’s vitally important that the police re-establish and maintain this trust. It is more valuable than force, because trust enables people to focus on common goals.
In practical terms, the challenge will be to match the reality in the field to the written words of the recently improved policies. If officers don’t adhere to the new norms, altering the policies will have no effect.
One of the tasks of a criminal defense attorney is to examine whether authorities adhered to proper procedures. If not, this could greatly diminish a defendant’s culpability. In any case, if you get criminal defense help from Kroll & Johnson, nothing will be overlooked on your behalf. Experience and skill, tirelessly working for you. Speaking of trust, they are experienced Portland attorneys you can trust when it’s all on the line.