Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement

Civilian oversight of law enforcement has become an integral part of many municipal governments and community organizations throughout the United States.  It is an effective way by which our local governments can create a transparent mechanism to hear and investigate allegations of police misconduct while also building a bridge between the community and police force.

The members of our Civilian Oversight Practice Group assist independent boards and governmental agencies in responding to and investigating both isolated and recurring issues within law enforcement agencies.  Our attorneys help to foster trust and respect between the police and the communities they serve, while enhancing public safety, communication, and community involvement.  The members also provide legal advice in the areas of internal affairs, discipline, policy drafting, legal liability, use of force, laws of arrest, disability accommodation, and search and seizure.  Some of the services we provide include:

  • Legal guidance in the oversight, monitoring and auditing of police departments;
  • Assistance with legal compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws;
  • Advice and counsel with regard to the complaint and the investigation process;
  • Assistance in creating procedures for investigations and determinations;
  • Analysis of police department policies and procedures, including assisting with the review, development, and revision of such policies and procedures;
  • Advice and counsel on the gathering of evidence and testimony;
  • Assistance in dealing with federal and state prosecutors, as well as local police departments and their representatives;
  • Creation of a legal framework for decision-making;
  • General oversight representation and legal advice.

The importance of our attorneys’ base knowledge of municipal law cannot be understated as many of the substantive and procedural issues faced by civilian oversight practitioners require an extensive understanding of municipal and agency law.  By keeping up to date on the latest legislative and judicial developments in municipal law, the members of our Civilian Oversight Practice Group ensure that our clients meet their constitutional responsibilities while enhancing police accountability and the community relations between the police and the public at large.