How much legal training...

Bob Hubbard

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...do police get before being put on the streets?

There are over 500,000 laws at the federal level. Every year, lawmakers put their names on new ones.

How often are you required to update what you know? Are you also informed of older, still on the books but not enforced laws?

How do the various police departments keep Law Enforcement up on the Law?
 

Drac

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Bob Hubard said:
How much legal training do police get before being put on the streets?

My academy was a long time ago but better than half of our time there (2 months 6 days aweek 8 hrs a day was spent in the classroom studying the law)..

...There are over 500,000 laws at the federal level. Every year, lawmakers put their names on new ones.How often are you required to update what you know? Are you also informed of older, still on the books but not enforced laws?How do the various police departments keep Law Enforcement up on the Law

We recieve updates and bulletins and regularly attend classes that address these new laws...A lot of us carry a copy of the Ohio Revised Code in out cruisers, plus there are always many copies at the stations..
 

Xue Sheng

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My academy was a long time ago but better than half of our time there (2 months 6 days aweek 8 hrs a day was spent in the classroom studying the law)..



We recieve updates and bulletins and regularly attend classes that address these new laws...A lot of us carry a copy of the Ohio Revised Code in out cruisers, plus there are always many copies at the stations..

Many of the LEOs in my area today have at least a 2 year CJ degree and the academy is much like Drac said he went through at the local level but I believe it is 8 hours and 5 days a week here. The NYSPs live there for about 6 months and I am not exactly sure how many days a week. And they do get updates constantly. I am not an LEO and because I took certain classes in college I still get PL and CPL updates every year.

When I was going that route one college course (3Cr) was dedicated JUST to NYS Criminal procedure law and Penal Law. Another (4 cr) was more towards the court systems.
 

VegasM4

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We get lots of training in our 24 week academy in state criminal law,traffic law,constitutional law,and search and seizure.After the academy there are periodic legal updates.
 

jks9199

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...do police get before being put on the streets?

There are over 500,000 laws at the federal level. Every year, lawmakers put their names on new ones.

How often are you required to update what you know? Are you also informed of older, still on the books but not enforced laws?

How do the various police departments keep Law Enforcement up on the Law?
Kind of a complex question, Bob...

We get some number of hours of dedicated "legal" training as part of the academy; it's something like 60 or 100 hours of just "legal" material. But there's more legal material covered in different areas, too. For example, the traffic code is a separate area of instruction. HERE is a link to the 96 page document covering the state MINIMUM standards for legal matters.

On top of that, we're required to obtain 4 hours of recognized legal training every 2 years, as part of our 40 hour in-service requirement in Virginia. (Different states have different standards.) That often doesn't include "routine" things like memos and notices about changing laws or new rulings that effect our job.

I'm not atypical; I actually read many US and Virginia Supreme Court or Court of Appeals rulings on matters that are relevant. It can often be important to understand how the courts reached their conclusion so that I can hopefully reach a similar conclusion on the street... For example, when does a consensual encounter become a detention? What language is an actual invocation of the right to counsel -- and what conduct might be a waiver?

We also get constant reinforcing legal training every time we go to court. Whether it's from a prosecutor, a judge, or even a defense attorney, they're constantly teaching us, whether they mean to or not. I'll pay attention to what worked well or didn't work well in articulating why I stopped a car, or what supported my search or arrest -- and apply it later.

Finally, I read the code book. Used to do so very regularly, like on slow night shifts. It's amazing some of the things that are in there... I'm dying to charge someone with "Vagrancy, to wit, living a profligate lifestyle!"
 

Geeba12

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Very complex issue, my Readers Digest response is to relate a comment made to my basic class in 1985 by an ADA.
"You can't memorize all of the laws but you will know when the law is broken, that's what the PL is for during the booking process".

Be safe all,
SJG
 

Archangel M

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Its like martial arts...how many different techniques in your individual style are there? How proficient in each technique are you?

I'm guessing that you are very good at the ones you use most often, that you are pretty good at others that you use "every once and a while" but could be better, that you are knowledgeable on some but haven't used them too often, familiar with some but only used them once or twice at a seminar, rusty on some you haven't trained on in years, seen some in books and perhaps have an intellectual grasp on them but never done them. And theres some that you just never learned.

LE law experience is much the same thing.

Another thing to remember is that "grand total" of laws you quoted...you have to cull out laws that are unenforceable by your local LE agencies. Many "laws" have nothing to do with the police at all. Violating housing "law" usually gets you fines and the cops are never involved (unless housing enforcement issues a warrant for you)...your local cop isnt going to arrest you if he sees your grass is too high.
 

Drac

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Off Topic Post: They need to add some new laws like AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR STUPIDITY..End Post
 

punisher73

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Off Topic Post: They need to add some new laws like AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR STUPIDITY..End Post

I prefer to cite it as DWHUA.. LOL

In Michigan, the governing body overseeing law enforcement standards requires that all LEO's have at least a 2yr degree upon completion of the MCOLES curriculum.

In the academy we had 6 credit hours of criminal law/procedures. there were other classes that tie into that though.

Almost all deputies in our dept. carry a "Steffel's book" which was written by an attorney that lists the most common crimes and the elements of the crime to see if the situation matches the statute.

Also, there is ALWAYS an on call prosecuting attorney on that you can call and run a situation by if you aren't sure, along with your on-duty supervisor.

Our traffic ticket books issued by the state also have all of the most common motor vehicle codes written on the cover for easy reference.

Then there are the legal update classes that we have to attend each year, along with other updates as the law changes etc.

Most of the time you are dealing with the same types of crimes on a consistant basis. The degree mght change in some cases, but you know the basic elements and also what you can or can't do.
 

sgtmac_46

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...do police get before being put on the streets?

There are over 500,000 laws at the federal level. Every year, lawmakers put their names on new ones.

How often are you required to update what you know? Are you also informed of older, still on the books but not enforced laws?

How do the various police departments keep Law Enforcement up on the Law?

In Missouri our academies cover current statutes fairly thoroughly.....our Attorney General's officer is hit and miss on getting updates out in a timely manner, however.

But computer training, legal bulletines and legal updates provide the bulk of ongoing training updates.

And for Missouri criminal statutes we have our frequently updated 'Blue Book', the Missouri Criminal Code Handbook, which has Missouri's criminal statutes and elements of crimes, and they are updated approximately ever 2 years.
 

Bikewr

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I'm from Missouri as well. Way back in 1968, when I went through the academy, we got a total of 3 hours each of criminal law and criminal evidence, both taught by university professors.

After that, not so much... Until more recently, when POST requirements came in; now a certain minimum number of hours are required. We do the internet-based training that comes out of the University of Missouri each month.

While it's true that there are a huge total number of laws, many of these are civil rather than criminal and of little concern to police. The criminal statutes in the typical state are not all that lengthy, and the county and municipal ordinances often "mirror" the state statutes.
 

Archangel M

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I was told by an "old dog" years ago "kid...when someone breaks the law you will know it, it aint rocket science...when you need to know the section and subsections of the law you can look it up."

A bit "old school" but he had a bit of a point. The bulk of "law knowledge" that really needs to be understood is Constitutional Law and search/siezure/level of contact law.
 

Carol

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There are over 500,000 laws at the federal level. Every year, lawmakers put their names on new ones.

But the police enforce laws in their jurisdiction, which is typically state or a locality. Many federal statutes are not criminal statutes (example: the FAA dictating how tall a cell/broadcast tower has to be before it is required to be painted in red and white bands) and many federal crimes are not enforced at the local level (ie: immigration)...if my understanding is correct.
 
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