Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Use the Memorandum Template to complete the assignment. In your memorandum, address the following critical elements as they are reflected in the Sample Policy Memorandum. These critical ele - Very-Good Essays

Use the Memorandum Template to complete the assignment. In your memorandum, address the following critical elements as they are reflected in the Sample Policy Memorandum. These critical ele

Use the Memorandum Template to complete the assignment. In your memorandum, address the following critical elements as they are reflected in the Sample Policy Memorandum. These critical elements appear as headings in that document as follows:

  1. Issue Presented: In a brief one-sentence question, summarize the importance of making changes to your selected departmental policy in your criminal justice agency and how these changes will affect the different actors involved in the policy-making process.
  2. Short Answer: Provide a short answer that summarizes the conclusion of the memorandum.
  3. Statement of Facts: Describe how implementing these departmental policy changes will result in more effective policy-making.
  4. Discussion: Briefly discuss at least one recent example of a departmental policy (from law enforcement, the courts, or corrections) that has effectively been revised to take into consideration the various policy actors involved.
  5. Conclusion: Provide a conclusion based on the research you have done and the details you have gathered.
  6. Recommendations:
    1. Explain how the changes you are recommending to your departmental policy will affect other policy actors, including those in the other branches of the criminal justice system.
    2. Identify resistance to the recommended changes from other policy actors who may find the changes lead to potential conflicts with their own policies or agendas.
    3. In making your recommendations, include elements to your policy that, although not ideal for your department, will avoid conflictswith other policy actors and make a smoother delivery of criminal justice services in relation to the issue.



CJ 520 Sample Policy Memorandum

Note: The headings below are ones typically seen in a legal policy memorandum. Keep in mind,

however, that different professions—and companies within these professions—may use different

headings or formats for their memorandums.


TO: District Judge of the Third Circuit

FROM: Assistant Prosecutor

RE: Graham v. Connor Case – Judging Use of Force Issues

DATE: January 1, 2016

Issue Presented

When one of our police officers is involved in a use of force incident, what perspective should be

used in judging the reasonableness of that officer’s use of force?

Short Answer

When judging reasonableness, in the application of force, the perspective to be used is that of a

reasonable objective officer standing in the shoes of the officer at the time the application of

force is used. That officer is additionally briefed to disregard 20/20 hindsight.

Statement of Facts

The case of Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989), is the applicable precedent and rule of law

applicable to these situations. In Graham, supra, an officer made a traffic stop on an individual

who was diabetic. As a result of low sugar, Graham was attempting to buy orange juice. He was

driven to a convenience store by Berry, pulling in expeditiously. Graham ran into the

convenience store and rapidly exited after seeing the line was too long. Berry and Graham then

swiftly pulled out of the convenience store parking lot. Based on the aforementioned events,

Officer Connor, observed this behavior and was troubled by the situation. Connor believed some

type of crime or a robbery may have occurred in the convenience store. The officer conducted an

investigative stop to determine whether or not criminal activity had taken place. Graham was

incoherent and refused to comply with officer requests, running around the vehicle as a result of

low insulin. Due to his behavior, Graham was subsequently handcuffed and detained while

officers were conducting a preliminary investigation. The officers at the time had no idea that

Graham was diabetic. Graham was not charged with a crime but sustained injuries while being

handcuffed. Graham brought suit against the officers for a violation of his civil rights under 42

U.S.C § 1983, for excessive use of force and violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free

from unreasonable search and seizure. Graham contended that the officers disregarded the fact

that he was diabetic. Id at 392-394.


As a result of recent use of force issues across the country, there has been intense media scrutiny

placed on law enforcement. As grand juries have convened, in both Ferguson and New York City,

there has been unparalleled attention and protests as to why these officers have not been indicted.

This is a result of the public having a general misunderstanding and misconception of how the

law is applied. It is paramount that the general public understand the context when judging the

reasonableness of incidents involving the use of force. A complete and thorough understanding

of the law is critical when analyzing these incidents. Grand juries are instructed on the law when

reaching their conclusions. This, in fact, is the dispositive reason as to why these grand juries

have refused to indict these officers. When judging reasonableness, in the application of force,

grand juries are advised that they must stand in the shoes of the officer at the time the application

of force is used. They are additionally briefed to disregard 20/20 hindsight based on the

aforementioned Graham standard. That judgment should be based on the “objective

reasonableness” standard outlined in Graham. Police officers often have a fraction of a second to

make a life and death decision. After the fact, that decision, may in fact, be wrong. However, the

incident cannot be judged with hindsight. Under Graham, we must stand in the shoes of the

officer at the time the force is being applied to determine its reasonableness. The realization that

a gun is in fact a toy after the application of deadly force is a perfect illustration of this point.

However, using the Graham analysis, was the officers’ application of deadly force “objectively



In reaching its conclusion, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the officers stating

in a pertinent part:

All claims that law enforcement officials have used excessive force—deadly or not—in

the course of an arrest, investigatory stop, or other “seizure” of a free citizen are properly

analyzed under the Fourth Amendment’s “objective reasonableness” standard, rather than

under a substantive due process standard. Graham at 392-399.

This “objective reasonableness” must be applied while “standing in the shoes of the officer” at

the time the incident takes place. The Supreme Court recognized that officers have to make split-

second decisions in the course of executing their duties. The benefit of 20/20 hindsight must be

disregarded when judging “objective reasonableness”. Id at 399. Obviously, had the officers

known that Graham was diabetic, they would have taken different action. However, this

information was revealed after the incident took place.


The general public has a general misunderstanding and misconception of how the law is applied

in use of force situations. It is paramount that the general public understand the context, when

judging the reasonableness of incidents involving the use of force, before judging the incident. A

complete and thorough understanding of the law is critical when analyzing these incidents. The

understanding of this approach is the dispositive reason as to why grand juries have refused to

indict many officers. It is imperative that our agency deals with this negative public perception

with an informational campaign on the Graham standard. This information should be

disseminated proactively before another incident becomes the lightning rod of controversy and

reactionary public perception. It is also important that our officers be trained in the proper use of

force, the use of force continuum, and from what perspective their actions are going to be

judged. If these strategies are followed, there should be better public awareness of the situation,

better trained officers, and a thoughtful/mindful approach to the application of force.

Reference Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989)




Public Needs and Policy Recommendations

Destiny Nance

Southern New Hampshire University

CJ 520

April 2nd, 2024


The public wants less police violence and equity to be taken into account, which would result in lower crime rates as a reaction to the brutality. The Supreme Court is a pertinent branch of the criminal justice system that ought to penalize law enforcement officials who commit hate crimes while making an arrest. When gathering evidence during an arrest, it is important to take into account the use of body cameras in order to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly.

Since they may capture evidence in both audio and video formats, body cams have been accepted as departmental policies in the fight against hate crimes. They document the precise actions taken during the arrests and evidence seizure, thereby reducing the use of derogatory language and discriminating messaging. Body cam policies have addressed the unique needs of equity and the eradication of hate crimes in society.

Policy Recommendations

To guarantee that significant information is extracted, it is advised that certain areas of the departmental policy be improved, namely with regard to the body cameras' vision and audio clarity. Since knowing that a body camera is there would hinder a criminal's ability to respond to authorities, the body cameras' visibility should be anonymous in order to gather accurate information. Longer periods of record-keeping of the material would be made possible by the camera's clarity in both audio and pictures. To guarantee that every articulation is accurately recorded for use as a reference during a court summons, the audio should be audible. Since the participating police officers would be held responsible for their acts, the recommendation would improve the accuracy of the information and lower the prevalence of hate crimes.

Regarding departmental policy adjustments, one specific advice regarding body cameras is to take into account the use of high-quality cameras that reduce the possibility of damage occurring during evidence seizure. In order to capture violent suspects—especially those who have been the targets of hate crimes in the past—police officers must use cameras that are set up for the job when making an arrest. Numerous cameras malfunction during police operations, interfering with evidence that could be used to prove a case. Police agencies interacting with vendors to make sure they coordinate in securing the data and preventing the destruction of the cameras would increase the quality. Insurance policies would guarantee that the cameras are protected from theft, and data that has already been recorded would be retrieved by working with suppliers.

Because the material supplied would be comprehensible and easily consulted in the future, the recommendations would enhance the way judicial systems handle cases. Since the cameras would record every move made during the events, the evidence that was taken would be unaltered and raw (Koslicki, 2019). Clear body camera film was utilized to demonstrate the incident in the case of the Colorado officer charged with criminal assault, serving as an example of the use of body camera reference. In order to make sure the departmental policy on body cameras effectively extracts pertinent information, the case tested new state law.

The recommendations are supported by the strain theory on hate crime since the cameras capture the suspects and the actions of the police, giving a fair trial in a court of law. Body cams would serve as a monitor for hate crimes because the hypothesis shows that some stressors, like police brutality, boost crime. The public needs are met by the recommendations for more dependable and transparent body cameras since they offer tamper-proof information and proof. The idea argues that the recommendations are acceptable because they lessen the pressure to commit a crime, which lowers the incidence of hate crimes in society. People can treat each other equally since the police department respects people's rights when they are subjected to an arrest.

Because body cameras ensure that the law is obeyed, the police seizure suggestions will have a good effect on public relations between law enforcement and the general public. The public's confidence is increased by the effectiveness of body cams because they may be confident that the legal system will provide justice based on the evidence presented (Wright & Headley, 2021). Because all incidents of hate crime commission are included in the raw material, the court systems have become more adept at determining cases. Thanks to the tape, the court was able to charge the Colorado police officer who had committed criminal assault, which had a favorable impact on the legal system. The more cops involved in determining the crime rate, the more likely it is that the information gathered will be relied upon when the possible effects are bad.

The possible consequences advise the police force to increase its body camera budget in order to quickly implement the eradication of hate crimes and enhance public service. The public's positive response to the effectiveness of body cameras would be leveraged by encouraging people to report any hate crimes that police officers may have encountered. In conflict areas, buy-ins would be generated by installing cameras that would document all events and supply valuable data for the case's resolution.


Koslicki, W. M. (2019). Accountability or efficiency? Body-worn cameras as replicative technology. Criminal justice review, 44(3), 356-368.

Wright, J. E., & Headley, A. M. (2021). Can technology work for policing? Citizen perceptions of police-body worn cameras. The American Review of Public Administration, 51(1), 17-27.

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