Are LEO required to respond to an emergency while off duty?

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rug357
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Are LEO required to respond to an emergency while off duty?

Post by rug357 »

Are LEO who is off duty on a day off required to respond to emergency?
Lets say you are having a meal with your wife on your day off and you hear on the restaurant TV that there is an active shooter at the local school which is within quick driving distance. As a LEO are you required to respond to the emergency?

Flashooter22
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Post by Flashooter22 »

Not by law but our policy says that if you are close you should go. Just make sure you identify yourself somehow.

Xeeoneyx
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Post by Xeeoneyx »

I don’t think they are required to do much of anything. But, if they are in a restaurant and someone starts trying to rob it, they had better react in some way if they plan on working in that department moving forward. Unless they have protected minority status or something.

Miami_JBT
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Post by Miami_JBT »

I have a duty to act 24/7/365. Agency policy directs us to act also. But agency policy also states that we are to do what we can when we can.

That means if I'm off duty standing in the bank and the robbery from HEAT happens and I'm there with my wife and kids. I am to take appropriate action. That appropriate action depends on the situation. Am I able to protect people? Can I engage the subjects? Can I be a good witness and get their descriptions? Etc....

As for a active shooter. I had to deal with one off duty and it was a cluster fuck. I heard shots but didn't know where they were coming from. My dispatch didn't know what was going on so they couldn't direct me where to go. Etc.... I was at home when it happened and it was in my neighborhood.

Things are not like the movies.

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Deputydave
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Post by Deputydave »

Depends on the situation. An off duty LEO is at the same tactical disadvantage as Joe Citizen i.e. they don't have body armor and immediate communication for back up or to relay the tactical situation to responding units outside of 911. They probably don't have access to normal on duty tools such as taser, O.C., cuffs etc and their off duty weapon is likely less than their duty weapon not to mention lack of ammunition.

In other words, an off duty LEO doesn't have a big red 'S' under their shirt and shouldn't be expected to act like a superhero 'just because'. They have the ability to perform actions off duty that they would on duty i.e. make an arrest but have no legal obligation to do so i.e. risk their life or the lives of loved ones they may be with to act like super-cop. So if an off duty Officer is walking through the mall with his two year old daughter and a robbery starts at the jewelry store across from the food court where they're eating don't expect him to leave his two-year old daughter while he goes all 'hollywood' on the bad guys.

On the other hand, we have seen where off duty Officers/Deputies have acted in dire emergencies when the situation has allowed them to do so without being stupid about it and/or putting innocent lives in jeopardy. And making a situation worse by charging in is a valid consideration.

Bottom line, those in this career field are 'usually' type A personalities. Most of those will very likely do something in an emergency that is logical to the situation without being an idiotic ass-hat making the situation worse. For example gaining a position of advantage to feed intel to responding units via their cell phone. That can be more valuable than charging in with their off duty pocket LCP. So response depends on the situation. If it's an emergency but no one's life is in immediate jeopardy then feeding intel and making an expert witness is logical. You're sitting in the food court and someone comes in shooting....well, let's just say the response is likely to be more direct and to-the-point.
Survival and Emergency Preparedness http://sepboard.us

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rentprop1
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Post by rentprop1 »

I wouldn't think required too, but most probably would, I know several Firemen that roll with their bunker gear in the back of their car, just in case

Rchrd.miranda
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Post by Rchrd.miranda »

Off duty LEO's do not have an "affirmative duty to act" as expressed in law in other states. There was a time when policy required LEO's to carry ID, a badge, and a weapon. Today that policy is often expressed as having the option to carry if one so desires. In many jurisdictions one must qualify with the off duty weapon and the department has considerable latitude to define what is an acceptable off duty weapon. Also, in today's world one would be well advised to consider the totality of circumstances and realize that departments vary widely in their desire to support officers in messy off duty incidents. Rest assured that an off duty police involved shooting will almost invariably become messy. What ever one does off duty the officer will be held to a higher standard than Joe Citizen and departments may incur liabilities. If an officer becomes involved in a more routine emergency involving the actual or potential threat to life or safety it had better go right. The officer may be alone, without communication, back up, or equipment but is not protected by the good Samaritan law. You get involved, you own it. The best explanation, the best criteria is first whether the problem is with in one's scope of training and expertise and second whether the risk outweighs the benefit. One does not have to jump into raging flood waters to save a dog. If you don't have swift water training and experience and equipment it is not required to go in after a person. One does not have to take on a gang of armed robbers alone. Contrary to popular belief there is no requirement to get killed. Unlike the military, LEO's, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders do not deal in acceptable losses.

So, the answer is that while many will attempt to ameliorate dangerous situations, that is a very individual decision.

Racer88
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Post by Racer88 »

They're not even required to respond when ON duty.

Multiple federal courts and the SCOTUS have ruled that Law Enforcement has no duty to protect any citizen.

Warren v District of Columbia
Lozito v NYPD
Castle Rock v Gonzales
Barela v City of Denver
"...a government and its agencies are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen..." -Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981)

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Deputydave
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Post by Deputydave »

Racer88 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:31 pm
They're not even required to respond when ON duty.

Multiple federal courts and the SCOTUS have ruled that Law Enforcement has no duty to protect any citizen.

Warren v District of Columbia
Lozito v NYPD
Castle Rock v Gonzales
Barela v City of Denver
"...a government and its agencies are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen..." -Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981)
There is a difference between having a duty to respond (on duty) and being a body guard. L.E. has a duty to respond (on duty) i.e. a citizen calls 911 about 'whatever' and the agency has an duty to respond to that call. That is different than protecting a private citizen. In other words, if you get mugged in Clearwater for example, you can't turn around and sue Clearwater PD for failing to keep you safe. Keeping you safe isn't their job or mandate. It is the (armed) citizens duty to protect themselves first and foremost. Now, don't confuse what I'm saying to think I'm saying L.E. won't act to save lives i.e. active shooter. What I'm saying is that they have no legal obligation to act to protect individuals i.e. being a body guard. Certain exceptions exist such as FHP protecting State officials, protective custody etc.

L.E. by it's very nature is reactionary due to numbers. They don't have the numbers to 'protect' everyone in city/county.
Survival and Emergency Preparedness http://sepboard.us

Racer88
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Post by Racer88 »

Deputydave wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:01 am
Racer88 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:31 pm
They're not even required to respond when ON duty.

Multiple federal courts and the SCOTUS have ruled that Law Enforcement has no duty to protect any citizen.

Warren v District of Columbia
Lozito v NYPD
Castle Rock v Gonzales
Barela v City of Denver
"...a government and its agencies are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen..." -Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981)
There is a difference between having a duty to respond (on duty) and being a body guard. L.E. has a duty to respond (on duty) i.e. a citizen calls 911 about 'whatever' and the agency has an duty to respond to that call. That is different than protecting a private citizen. In other words, if you get mugged in Clearwater for example, you can't turn around and sue Clearwater PD for failing to keep you safe. Keeping you safe isn't their job or mandate. It is the (armed) citizens duty to protect themselves first and foremost. Now, don't confuse what I'm saying to think I'm saying L.E. won't act to save lives i.e. active shooter. What I'm saying is that they have no legal obligation to act to protect individuals i.e. being a body guard. Certain exceptions exist such as FHP protecting State officials, protective custody etc.

L.E. by it's very nature is reactionary due to numbers. They don't have the numbers to 'protect' everyone in city/county.
None of the cases I cited involved a question about being a body guard. They were about police NOT RESPONDING (as was perceived appropriately to save lives). For example, in the Lozito vs NYPD case, the two officers that were a FEW FEET away WATCHED the perp slash a victim to bloody shreds with a knife, from behind the door of the conductor's room on the subway. The police were already THERE when the attack started. They WATCHED. Only when the victim, bleeding massively, subdued the perp himself... the police came out from behind the locked door to apprehend the perp. Lozito sued NYPD and lost.

The Warren vs DC ruling held that the police do not owe a specific duty to provide police services to citizens based on the public duty doctrine. It involves a case where the cops drove by a house where a rape was in progress, but did not stop nor even lean out the window to see what was going on.

Again... this isn't about "body guards" at all. Let's not muddy the water here with the "body guard" thing. The courts have ruled that the police have NO DUTY to protect citizens against harm.... Again from the Warren case: "the duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists".

So, the police do not have any duty to come to your rescue. Mind you... many will. But, it is of their own volition. If they don't, you cannot hold them liable. They can literally watch your murder, rape, or other violent crime, should they choose to not intervene to protect you.

In the case of Barela vs City of Denver, the complaint was that 911 services took over an hour to respond to an assault that resulted in the murder of the victim (and was therefore responsible). The courts ruled in favor of the City.

Mind you, I am NOT arguing or opining against these rulings. I totally understand why it MUST be that way. Otherwise, Law Enforcement would be inundated with lawsuits. Furthermore, I think it is unreasonable to EXPECT an LEO to sacrifice him/herself to save your butt. We can have no such expectation, logically and morally. I actually agree with the rulings that the police have no duty to protect citizens from harm.

My point is to educate the misguided and misinformed about the ACTUAL duty of LE, and more importantly about PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY for your OWN safety and survival.

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