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Beyond Canton Versus Harris: Further Mandates for Continued Crisis Negotiation Training

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: 2006 Pages: 105-108
Tomas C. Mijares Ph.D.
Date Published
4 pages
This article attempts to expand the parameters of the 1989 Canton versus Harris case stipulating police officers be trained in tasks regularly performed through mandates of preparation and training, and focuses on crisis negotiation training in the preparation of police personnel for assignment to crisis negotiation.
In the 1989 court case of the City of Canton versus Harris, police personnel who had been assigned as jailers in a municipal temporary detention facility had not received adequate training. This was seen after a prisoner became ill and received inadequate medical treatment. The city was found organizationally liable due to law enforcement personnel not being trained properly. Canton is often regarded as the landmark case in the field of police training. However, it should not be considered to be a solution for defining the training adequacy. The court decision did not go far enough with regards to factors, such as substance of the curriculum, frequency of training, method of delivery, and instructor qualifications. In actuality, Canton is more of a take-off point for ensuing legal cases and commentaries. The purpose of this article is to expand the parameters of Canton versus Harris through a discussion on one of the substantive and procedural concerns associated with preparing police personnel for assignment to a crisis negotiation unit and maintaining their performance levels. Both a legal and practical rationale for reaching a satisfactory level of performance before allowing the officer to engage in this very critical task of crisis negotiation is offered. Realistic sources for specialized training are suggested. References