Term Paper: Civil Liability

Pages: 8 (2637 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Women also account for only 6% of the dollars that are paid out in court judgments and settlements for excessive force among large agencies (Harrington et al. 2002)."

Harrington et al. (2002) also reports that male officers cost taxpayer 2.5 to five times more than female officers. In addition, female officers were less likely to be accused of sustained excessive force, than male officers were (Harrington et al. 2002). The report also asserts that female officers also have fewer complaints about female officers using excessive force. Harrington et al. (2002) conclude that Whether citizen complaints, sustained allegations, or civil liability payouts are examined, the pattern is the same -- the average woman on patrol is significantly less likely to use excessive force than the average man...she exposes the citizens to less abuse and the department to less civil liability....Results from all three sources uniformly support the conclusion that female officers are significantly less likely to use excessive force in comparison with their male colleagues (Harrington et al. 2002)."


The method of research for this project will involve extensive research of both primary and secondary sources. The preliminary research was found in books, journal articles and reports from reputable organizations. The primary research also contains articles from text that is available on the internet. Secondary research will involve gathering information about civil liability from various jurisdictions and suggesting ways to reduce the occurrences of civil liability suits amongst police officers. This research will also allow the researcher to draw valuable conclusions about the causes if excessive force amongst police officers.


Our discussion focused on the excessive use of force and civil liability. Initially, we asserted that the "use of force" and consequential civil liability claims that may follow are problematic for citizens, victims of brutality, the police and other public officials. We also sought to define b the excessive use of force and civil liability. Our research defined excessive use of force as any force that can result in serious bodily harm or death. Civil liability was defined as "potential responsibility for payment of damages or other court-enforcement in a lawsuit"("civil liability," n.d.)."

The literature indicated that civil liability suits are often dependent on the objective reasonableness standard. We also found that more than 30,000 civil liability suits against police officers are filed each year. In addition, our investigation found that many of these suits are settled out of court.

The literature also suggests that the culture of most police departments make it difficult to discipline aggressive officers.

Our research also indicates that women are less likely to be involved in cases of excessive force. We also found that female officers cost taxpayers less than their male counterparts did. We concluded that hiring a larger number of female officers might reduce excessive force and civil litigation.

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