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Old February 25, 2018, 11:21 AM   #1
Closing The Gap
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Warren v D.C. and Sheriff's deputies

Are they held to the same standard as local police? Meaning do they also have no "duty to protect"?

I am far from a legal scholar, and I cannot through research of my own find the answer. Any help is appreciated greatly!
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Old February 25, 2018, 12:06 PM   #2
Psychedelic Bang
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I'm not a police officer, or lawyer ...

My Dad was a lawyer (he passed away several years ago). Wish he was around to still ask questions. He was the smartest man I ever knew..

That said, to me, it is about a Constitutional Obligation vs a Sworn Oath. There may be no Constitutional legal obligation, the officers still took a Police Officers Oath.

They cannot be prosecuted for a crime. They had a sworn duty to act.
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Old February 25, 2018, 12:22 PM   #3
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this has been brought up in other threads, and the general opinion is that while there is a "duty" to protect the public in general, there is no legal obligation. Police officers are not required by law to put their lives at risk to save you (or anyone). Most will, but its not a legal requirement.

Simply put (and any case may not be this simple) you cannot sue the police dept (successfully) because an office failed to act, but you might have a case against the individual officer(s).
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Old February 25, 2018, 12:28 PM   #4
Closing The Gap
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I didnt see any threads with this question. I am not asking about police officers. I am asking specifically about sheriff's deputies. The original police department was set up by Ben Franklin to protect the property of the haves from the have nots.
There is a distinct difference between the police and sheriff. I don’t think Warren vs DC covers sheriffs but I could be mistaken since I am not an attorney.
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Old February 25, 2018, 01:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychedelic Bang
That said, to me, it is about a Constitutional Obligation vs a Sworn Oath. There may be no Constitutional legal obligation, the officers still took a Police Officers Oath.
There is no such thing as a constitutional obligation. The Constitution tells the government what it can't do more than what it must do, and there's no mention in the Constitution of School Resource Officers.
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Old February 25, 2018, 01:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Closing the Gap
There is a distinct difference between the police and sheriff.
What do you see as the distinct difference? Both are law enforcement. The only functional difference is that police chiefs are hired, sheriffs are elected.
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Old February 25, 2018, 04:26 PM   #7
Bartholomew Roberts
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There is no such thing as a constitutional obligation. The Constitution tells the government what it can't do more than what it must do, and there's no mention in the Constitution of School Resource Officers.
The Constitution imposes a number of obligations, for example the census. However, Warren v. D.C. is about whether police have a duty to act under the common law duty to rescue. They do not. So a civil suit on a torts claim based on a duty to act will be unsuccessful based on a theory of a general duty to the public. The fact that they have no common-law duty to act; does not mean they can not have a statutory duty to act.

However, such statutes will rarely create standing for a civil suit against that same government.
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Old February 25, 2018, 08:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
The Constitution imposes a number of obligations, for example the census. However, Warren v. D.C. is about whether police have a duty to act under the common law duty to rescue. They do not. So a civil suit on a torts claim based on a duty to act will be unsuccessful based on a theory of a general duty to the public. The fact that they have no common-law duty to act; does not mean they can not have a statutory duty to act.

However, such statutes will rarely create standing for a civil suit against that same government.
What about a contractual duty -- expressed or implied? I think most school districts that have SROs do so under some sort of agreement (contract?) with the police agency that provides the officer(s). If that contract calls for or implies "protection," wouldn't this SRO's failure to act in the prescribed manner for LEOs be a violation of the contract?

Of course, if there is a contract the parents and students aren't signatories, so no privity of contract. So they sue the school district, and the school district then impleads the sheriff's office (and maybe the officer himself, although he would be defended by the county's insurance carrier, probably).
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Old February 25, 2018, 09:24 PM   #9
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I'm way out of my lane legally already. So, I can't comment on that aspect because I don't know and I'd have to research it... and if I have to research something I'm not interested in, of course I like to get paid for it.
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Old February 26, 2018, 02:42 PM   #10
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NOT A LAWYER

This is where it gets interesting to me. The responding officers have, to my limited knowledge, no duty to protect any individual. Any duty they may have is to the general public. It may remove the ability of individual victims or the families to sue. It may not protect officers from being fired or other legal concerns over dereliction of duty assuming there are statutes on the book (I don't know).
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Old February 27, 2018, 01:47 PM   #11
jnichols2
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NOT A LAWYER EITHER !

But, considering the oath they take, they are certainly honor bound.
That used to mean something.
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Old February 27, 2018, 02:16 PM   #12
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I grew up most of my life seeing the sheriffs department as not really law enforcement. Deputies never pulled anyone over, rarely participated in police activities. Mostly they just served court papers, summons, worked at the jail, small time warrants and the like. If we were speeding and saw a deputy sheriff, there was nothing to worry about. In my area, the sheriffs deputy jobs were just used by guys trying to get into law enforcement, most moved on.

I was surprised to move to a place where deputies had the same status as local police. I think there’s a wide range of duties for different geographical areas. Some others probably think as I do, some deputies are not on the same level as local police.
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Old March 1, 2018, 02:41 AM   #13
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When living in a rural area where there is a lot of land between urban areas, it is clear that the sheriff's office is LEO. By compact, typically, the sheriff does not patrol interstates or provide traffic enforcement, leaving that to local police and the state police/highway patrol. Officers do all of the same tasks as any city cop.

The general rule is that a LEO owes no duty to individuals, only to the public at large, which thus means that you generally cannot sue an officer for failing to "protect" you from harm. There is no liability for failed rescues or failing to serve retraining orders, or failing to respond promptly to a crime occurring. The only exception is where the officer voluntarily accepts a "special duty" of care, for example, by agreeing to transport you to a hospital but crashes en route.
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Old March 1, 2018, 07:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62coltnavy
When living in a rural area where there is a lot of land between urban areas, it is clear that the sheriff's office is LEO. By compact, typically, the sheriff does not patrol interstates or provide traffic enforcement, leaving that to local police and the state police/highway patrol. Officers do all of the same tasks as any city cop.
Even that depends on the state. Not sure about Florida, but in Arizona there are many areas that are "unincorporated," which means they are not organized as a city or town so there is no such thing as a local police department. For unincorporated areas, the only law enforcement they have is the county sheriff's office.

Where I grew up in New England, there were no unincorporated areas, so sheriffs had no law enforcement duties. They only provided court security, operated the county jail, provided prisoner transport, and deputies could serve legal papers and subpoenas in their off-duty time.
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Old March 1, 2018, 09:09 AM   #15
Zen Archery
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Growing up closest friend dad was DPS officer. Being a dumb 11 year old kid I asked, “why do you carry a gun and that gun and that gun.” (We we’re by his patrol car). His response, “to protect me from unfortunate circumstances.” Didn’t think about that comment much until all these shootings recently.
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Old March 1, 2018, 09:31 AM   #16
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I live and work in a rural area. Even the cities are fairly small at least within 20 miles or so of my home. It never occurred to me that there was difference between city police, sheriff deputies, and the State Police that patrol that area. Around here a "cop is a cop". I know there are technical differences but the agencies all seem to work well together and be on a first name basis at least on what I can tell from an outsiders point of view.

I know for a fact that while there may not be a policy requiring it at least some fire departments have encouraged first responders to be armed (most fire department calls are traffic or medical related) and at least some ambulance personal are armed. In these departments possession of a concealed license is encouraged.
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