Wendell Nope Expert Witness Pages
Ethics
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Ethics

An Expert Witness is critical to litigations wherein police actions are being reviewed by a Judge or a Jury. An Expert Witness in any litigation is expected to exhibit professional ethics. In a perfect world, this would be the case. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. More than one Expert Witness has been deemed to be subjective rather than objective, and more than one has been labled as a "hired gun."

I feel that it is an honor to be asked to function as an Expert Witness. I also feel that when an officer or an agency retains me as an Expert Witness, they are looking for an honest and competent champion of their cause. In an increasing number of criminal litigations, K-9 officers are being accused of unscrupulous behavior. In an increasing number of civil litigations, K-9 officers are being accused of negligent or even willful injuring of suspects while taking them into custody. Attorneys who are opposing the K-9 officers are becoming more adept at challenging the reasonableness of K-9 officers' deployments.

Although I have been actively involved the the Police K-9 profession since 1977, I choose to maintain a neutral posture when it comes to acting as an Expert Witness. I am no "hired gun" and I will not take a position just because a significant amount of funding is involved. I do not adhere to a Code of Silence for law enforcement personnel. I will only act as an Expert Witness in a case in which I feel the K-9 officer exhibited reasonable skill and ethics. I am willing to defend a K-9 officer's position if s/he was doing the best that s/he knew to do, as long as the intent was pure.

Law enforcement is a noble profession. For the service they provide, often at the risk of their own personal safety, these officers deserve the most professional, technical and legal support - when they have performed to the best of their abilities. When they have done their best and someone cries foul, I feel compelled to use every bit of knowledge, skill, and intellect I possess to speak in their defense. This is my pledge. If I believe an officer has abided by the law, followed department policy/procedure, and made the best decision s/he perceived at the moment, I will champion their efforts with all my ability.

I believe that the truth is the truth and factual elements of an incident should not be manipulated for the best interests of a particular party in a litigation. I will, therefore, accept the role of an Expert Witness when the facts suggest that a dedicated officer has performed to the best of his/her knowledge, according to the of the situation as s/he perceived it. Likewise, if an officer misinterprets the facts of a situation but still acts in good faith, I am prepared to defend his/her good intent.

I have experienced a wonderful career in law enforcement. I am both honored and delighted to have served our society in this manner. I feel that I have held my own as a member of the noble Thin Blue Line. I feel that I have made a difference in the world as we know it. When I have had the privilege of having a role in the choice a court makes in a legal ruling, I feel that I have self-actualized as a law enforcement officer and a citizen. I pledge that this attitude will guide my actions, my language, and my position as an Expert Witness.

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