Law enforcement officers today must be trained to perform dozens of specific tasks. First among them,
is an awareness of the law and the judicial system as applied to criminal investigations.
We need not train officers to be lawyers, but their daily contact with statutes, rules of law, case law and
evidence, makes it imperative that they have a working knowledge of the law in several areas. The courts and
society demand of the officer strict adherence to constitutional protections and rules of evidence. The ability of
the officer to make swift and correct decisions depends upon a thorough understanding of such concepts.
This volume does not presume to contain original thought or unique ideas. I do nothing more than
report what others -- legislators, lawyers, and judges -- have stated the law to be. This is a "broad brush"
treatment of those areas of the law believed to be most relevant to police work. It is intended to be an easy to
understand approach to some very complicated and difficult legal issues. The law changes constantly, and the
officer must assume responsibility for continually updating the information contained herein.
An officer who is familiar with the legal concepts discussed in this book will be better equipped to
recognize legal issues, and thus seek appropriate legal advice before proceeding. The officer who does not
understand the nature of the law, or our legal system, will be frustrated, and unable to comprehend what our
courts and society expect from law enforcement. If this work in any way contributes to that understanding, it
will have served its purpose.
Paul A. Meissner