Redefining Qualified Immunity

The CJR Solution

Develop policies clearly establishing law enforcement officers’ lawful duty to intervene when other officers use of force exceeds the parameters of lawful restraint protocols. It is our position that an officer’s duty to protect has seamless alignment with their obligation to intervene. Failure in either duty is an exercise of deliberate indifference, and therefore a constitutional violation resulting from police officer misconduct.

In the charge to advance police reform at the state, local, and federal level, CJR calls for:

  • Clarification and legal guidance on the Supreme Court standing and departmental policies on the duty to intervene.
  • The Department of Justice to create clear national standards establishing law enforcement officers’ duty to intervene.
  • The enforcement of disciplinary actions when officers and administrators fail to abide by duty to intervene standards/requirements.
  • The adoption of state and local laws/policies to ensure that every police officer and police agency understands the responsibility to intervene and stop the use of excessive and deadly force by fellow officers.
  • An establishment of duty to intervene evaluative approaches.

Example Duty to Intervene Policies

  • Baltimore Police Department Duty to Intervene Policy
  • Cambridge Police Department Duty to Intervene Policy
  • Houston Police Department Response to Resistance Policy

12 Lane, E. (2017). In ‘EPIC’ effort, New Orleans police work to stop officer misconduct before it happens. The Times-Picayune.
13 Home – EPIC – Ethical Policing Is Courageous – New Orleans Police Department.
14 Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE).
15 Staub, E. (1993). The psychology of bystanders, perpetrators, and heroic helpers. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 17(3), 315-341 15
16 Staub, E. (2015). The roots of goodness and resistance to evil: Inclusive caring, moral courage, altruism born of suffering, active bystandership, andheroism. Oxford University Press.



Dr. Paul Elam, Chris Andrews, Dr. Warren Dukes, Dr. Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois, and Bezil Taylor

The Center for Justice Research, at Texas Southern University,
 is available to discuss how they can advise on evidence-based, effective police reform policies and practices on the national, state and local levels – concrete steps that law enforcement can take to bridge the racial divide. They can be reached at or 713-313-6843.

Suggested Citation:

TSU Center for Justice Research: (2021) Police Reform Action Brief: Duty to Intervene. Texas Southern University-Center for Justice Research.
You can follow the Center for Justice Research on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @cjresearchtsu.