In Defense of Self and Others . . .

Issues, Facts, and Fallacies — the Realities of Law Enforcement's Use of Deadly Force

by Urey W. Patrick, John C. Hall

Table of Contents (PDF)

314 pp  $30.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-054-8

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In Defense of Self and Others comprehensively addresses the issue of the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers. Beginning with a survey and analysis of the legal standards that define the authority of law enforcement officers to use deadly force, the book provides a detailed discussion of the practical elements that affect an officer's capacity to perceive a threat and to respond in an appropriate and timely fashion. For example, observing that law enforcement officers are always in a reactive mode and responding to the actions of others, the book explains the limitations imposed by the principle that "action beats reaction" and that officers are generally compelled to make quick decisions under severe time constraints.

A thorough discussion of "wound ballistics" serves to emphasize the realities and constraints that arise, illustrating that officers do not possess a reliable means of instantaneously stopping a perceived threat and explaining why officers are trained to fire multiple shots. There are additional chapters that discuss tactics and training, physiological factors of high intensity stress, suicide by cop, the effects of policy and training on the ability of officers to make appropriate decisions regarding the use of force, and much more. Numerous case histories are cited to illustrate the points made.

Undoubtedly, the most unique aspect of this book is the expertise of the authors. Acquired during almost 60 years of combined law enforcement experience, Patrick and Hall's expertise reflects a blend of the legal with that practical that is unprecedented. It is also faithful to the admonition of the Supreme Court of the United States that a proper review of this topic must be from the "perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene." The book stands alone as a source of information for the law enforcement, legal, and educational communities. It will also be of great interest and benefit to the media, and to the general reader who is interested in this important and frequently controversial topic.

"The information in this book will save law enforcement officers' lives, both on the street and in the courts. I've never read a book where every page is loaded with useful information. There is no 'filler' in this book. I've testified on behalf of many law enforcement officers on use of force and deadly force. The case studies and analysis supplied in this book are invaluable to those investigating, reviewing, or defending officer-involved shootings and uses of deadly force. The authors do an excellent job of translating the legal-ese into understandable language. This is a must read for every American Peace Officer, his or her family, attorneys for agencies and jurisdictions, and everyone who supports the institution of civilian policing in our country. The investment will save millions of dollars; from designing outstanding training for law enforcement officers so that they 'win' in the street and defending against frivolous lawsuits by those engaging in the lottery mentality of filing claims based upon ignorance or distortions of facts. As a police family, this book provides great 'peace of mind' for understanding the law and right (and need) for law enforcement officers' to use deadly force to defend themselves and every law-abiding American." -- Michael P. Gardner, posted review on

"John Hall is a true American Law Enforcement icon ... the world's leading expert on this topic. He and Pat Patrick have done an invaluable service to all of us "sheep dogs" in law enforcement and the military by explaining why the law is on our side. Any attorney assigned the task of investigating or defending our actions MUST read this book." -- David G. Bolgiano, posted review on

"In Defense of Self and Others... would make a very good text in any number of criminal justice related classes." -- ACJS Today