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Negligent entrustment: The critical importance of proper training and certification

We must ensure the people who are using the equipment are trained, authorized and certified to do so

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for all the great folks in law enforcement and corrections, and it deals with the concept of negligent entrustment.

I’m not going to “go lawyer” and throw a bunch of legalese at you. I’ll just get to the point. Negligent entrustment can simply be defined as allowing folks to use equipment or information that they haven’t been trained on or aren’t certified to use. In the law enforcement and corrections worlds, this can involve various weapons, control devices and chemical agents.

We’re not allowed to drive cars or fly planes without training and a license. Why? Because it creates varying degrees of risk for everyone. We should have the same mindset when deploying specialized public safety equipment. We must ensure the people who are using the equipment are trained, authorized, and certified to do so.

It doesn’t matter what role you play in public safety. There are myriad “tools of the trade” you may be called on to use. I’m talking about the electronic restraining device, the pepper projectile or other less-lethal system, the chemical agent, the specialized firearm, the restraint chair, or the SWAT vehicle. If you haven’t had the proper training and certification for such equipment, you must find someone else who has before deploying it.

Here’s the long and the short of it: Those who use the equipment required for us to effectively do our jobs must be properly entrusted to do so. That means the authorization, training, and, in most cases, certification to do so. Without these controls, all we have is another problem lying in wait.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.