Law Enforcement Policy and Practice Reviews
Our diverse citizenry has one great need in common: dependence on police and law enforcement to keep their communities safe and to maintain their civil rights. The police function is essential to our system of ordered liberty that protects people and their communities from crime and violence. Men and women in law enforcement risk their lives every day to protect their fellow citizens. They often make life-or-death decisions in a matter of seconds, which may then be closely scrutinized for months or years to come, including in legal proceedings.
To properly do their work, police departments and other law enforcement agencies must establish, maintain, and periodically review and update their policies and practices for the use of force, including deadly force. When an officer-involved shooting or other major incident occurs, they need to be prepared to react and respond appropriately.
Our law enforcement review team, which is part of the firm’s nationally recognized Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department, leverages combined legal and law enforcement experience to advise clients based on a comprehensive study of policies, training and internal procedures. We are experienced at the local, state and federal levels, including at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the nation’s largest law enforcement agency and often a lead investigator of major police-involved incidents. As appropriate, we team with recognized experts in law enforcement policy and management to comprehensively address the issues and challenges facing modern law enforcement agencies and their parent organizations.
About Our Team
Led by a former deputy attorney general and acting attorney general of the United States, our attorneys have experience working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement — experience gained in their previous positions as prosecutors and senior government officials. We leverage relationships with a team of law enforcement professionals with decades of experience to support our work, and we collaborate with our affiliated consulting firm, McGuireWoods Consulting, on effective messaging to government officials and the public.
The law enforcement review team at McGuireWoods is part of an elite Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department recognized as a Law360 Practice Group of the Year. Our senior team comprises a deep bench of lawyers with decades of experience working with law enforcement, including a former deputy attorney general of the United States, former U.S. attorneys, a former attorney general of Virginia, and more than a dozen former prosecutors at the federal and state levels. Our team also leverages the strengths of our highly regarded colleagues at McGuireWoods Consulting, which includes experienced government-relations and communications professionals. Our combined law enforcement review team includes:
- Former deputy attorney general and acting attorney general of the United States
- Former attorney general of Virginia
- Former U.S. attorneys, assistant U.S. attorneys and other federal prosecutors
- Former state prosecutors
- Former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division
- Numerous government-relations and communications consultants
Our team’s combined experience includes:
- Investigation of officer-involved shootings
- Supervision and oversight of major law enforcement agencies, projects and operations
- Legal analysis of the use of deadly force and of deadly force policies and practices
- Detailed fact investigation of incidents and occurrences where deadly force was used or contemplated
- Examination and analysis of the maintenance of civil rights in the context of law enforcement operations
How We Can Help
Whether a law enforcement agency is responding to a major incident or taking proactive steps to improve its procedures, our team can engage experts to thoroughly review and assess existing policies and practices, identify areas for improvement and help implement appropriate changes. This involved process inspires confidence in our clients, and in the public, that the department or agency is taking proactive steps to identify and address relevant issues and will accomplish real change when necessary.
While matters vary based on circumstances, a typical review might include the following:
- Reviewing use-of-force policies
- Assessing training practices
- Advising on how to improve these areas
- Assisting in implementation of improvements
- Evaluating policies and procedures for reviewing officer-involved shootings or other use-of-force events
Because we are attorneys, our communications with departments and agencies can, where appropriate, be confidential and privileged. This may be important to fostering candid communications in the context of our review and advice. At the same time, we can help provide public summaries of the review process and elected changes to policies and procedures, to keep the public and key stakeholders informed and confident in the process.
Download a PDF copy of our industry brochure.