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Specialized Units: Legal Liability and Best Practices

Specialized Units: Legal Liability and Best Practices

  • Matt Dolan
    Attorney & Director, Dolan Consulting Group, NC
  • Webinar, N/A
  • Jan 18, 2024
Course Length:
  • 2-hour
Registration Fee:
    • $125.00 for the first attendee – $75.00 per each additional attendee

Approximately one year ago, on January 7 of 2023, members of the SCORPION Unit—a specialized unit in the Memphis Police Department—stopped and brutally beat a motorist named Tyre Nichols. As a consequence of the encounter, Tyre Nichols died.  A civil lawsuit seeking $550 Million in damages is pending.  5 SCORPION Unit members have been charged with felony crimes related to the incident, including charges of second degree murder.  

The Nichols case, involving the now-disbanded SCORPION UNIT, is just the latest example of the kind of abuse that predictably leads to calls by members of the public and elected officials to disband specialized units all together. In fact, some of the most jarring scandals in American policing in the last few decades have come as a result of poorly managed specialized units engaging in negligence or misconduct.

For any law enforcement professionals who believe that specialized units have and can continue to serve a crucial role in fighting crime in their communities, it is imperative to make sure that these units are formed and run the right way. 

In this two-hour webinar, Attorney Matt Dolan will provide attendees with commonsense guidelines to consider in order to minimize legal liability and loss of public trust in conducting specialized unit operations while maximizing their effectiveness in improving public safety.  

This webinar training will include guidance on:

  • Properly articulating unit goals, guidelines and rules of engagement before deployment 
  • Ensuring personnel selection practices that assign the right officers to specialized units
  • Coordinating with prosecutors to ensure that there is cooperation and buy in for the unit’s stated objectives and planned operations
  • Maintaining proper command and control to prevent specialized units from becoming in any way exempt from appropriate oversight and accountability within the department


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-Detective, Utah

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  • “…Lt. Nieters’ ability to teach this class truly gripped me into seeing [that] I need a change. Hope to attend further training.”

-Patrolman, South Carolina

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  • “Harry Dolan was one of the best instructors I have encountered in 28 years of service.”

-Lieutenant, Wisconsin

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  • “Chief Dolan seamlessly fused his knowledge of history, law enforcement and leadership to provide a wealth of information on this topic. Two days flew by, great course!”

-Officer, Pennsylvania

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  • “This course was one of the best & most informative courses I have ever taken. Capt. Babcock’s expertise in the course matter is excellent.’

-Deputy, Florida

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  • “I would consider Matt to be a master orator. Kept a serious topic interesting with his unique and fantastic sense of humor.”

-Detective, South Dakota

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  • “One of/if not the best training I’ve attended. Chief’s lectures were relatable, accurate, and captivating. I really enjoyed the entire week.”

-Officer, Virginia

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- Chief, Pennsylvania

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  • “This should be required for ALL leaders (or people in command) across the nation.”

-Sergeant, Texas

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  • “I’ve sent 2 of my team members to Verbal De-Escalation. I’ve had it & it’s an amazing class. After encounters, I see the 180 degree difference in these young officers! I will petition to send all of them.”

-Attendee, North Carolina

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