Civil liability may occur under tort law in several circumstances. For instance, a police officer will be found liable when what happened can be blamed solely on the officer and on nobody else and transcends negligence. Additionally, a supervisor can be held liable when the supervisor is involved in the act or when what happened can be linked to one or all of the seven areas of supervisor negligence. Finally, a city or county is considered liable when what happened was the result of policy or custom.

Recent cases have addressed the issue of liability regarding both police officers’ individual liability as well as the potential civil liability of government entities. Two such cases are Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005) and Brosseau v. Haugen (2004).


For this discussion, review Castle Rock v. Gonzales and Brosseau v. Haugen, considering that both of these cases could be said to favor law enforcement.

In your main post:

  • Explain potential sources of tort liability and whether they would be individual and/or departmental.
  • Articulate adjustments at the officer and departmental levels to avoid civil liability.
  • Describe the overall impact of the sources of tort liability on the field of criminal justice.