Article Title

The Responsibility of the Police Command for Street-Level Actions

Type of Work

Article

Date

10-1990

Journal Title

Law and Policy

Journal ISSN

1467-9930

Journal Volume

12

Journal Issue

4

First Page

331

Last Page

352

DOI

10.1111/j.1467-9930.1990.tb00052.x

Abstract

This article examines federal judicial doctrine concerning the responsibility of police officials for patrol misconduct. The current standard requiring a showing by plaintiffs of an “affirmative link” between street-level action and the intention of commanders is challenged in two ways. First, through the application of organizational analysis to the premises of leading cases in the doctrine, and, second, by considering three suits alleging patterns of patrol misconduct, in which the elements of a new standard of command responsibility can be discerned. The authors argue that a standard based on a strengthened doctrine of respondeat superior will help insure the preservation of due process rights in citizen encounters with the police. The article recommends the imposition of departmental record keeping requirements for personnel evaluations and for allegations and investigations of patrol misconduct. A further recommendation would require departmental regulations on the use of force.

Hamilton Areas of Study

Government, Public Policy