Chairman’s Message

Posted on Thursday, July 09, 2009 at 12:00PM
Posted by Andy Schlenker

While many of us have received LDF coverage to handle administrative matters — and perhaps even the occasional civil case — the most critical need for LDF coverage occurs when you are the subject of a criminal prosecution.

While most are comforted by the thought: “It will never happen to me,” recent events should have us all thinking differently. Over the last several years, there has been a marked upward trend in criminal prosecutions against peace officers.

Less than two years ago, LDF was defending 16 criminal prosecutions yearly. (By this, I mean cases where a criminal complaint was filed or a grand jury returned an indictment.) Presently, that number has increased to more than 40!

Personally, I do not think this rise comes from officers doing anything less than their continued best and exercising exemplary decision-making in sometimes very stressful, split-second situations. There is no marked change in police officer attitudes or training.

However, there has been a major shift in the public perception towards police officers and the attendant increasing political pressure on prosecuting attorneys to “get tough on rogue cops.”

Often, this results in overreaching by prosecutors in filing criminal cases where previously no prosecution would have been contemplated.

On the bright side, with LDF’s financial resources, experienced attorneys, network of knowledge, and array of experts, most of these criminal cases can be and are resolved successfully.

You can always be assured that if the politics turn against you, and you find yourself in that rather uncomfortable seat as a defendant in a criminal case, LDF is, and will be, behind you every step of the way.

While we all like to reassure ourselves that such tragedies will never happen to us, I can tell you of at least 40 officers who now know better. Please be careful out there.

PORAC Legal Defense Administrator Ed Fishman Testimony: Law Enforcement Use of Body Cameras.