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Examining police use of force: a smaller agency perspective

Examining police use of force: a smaller agency perspective Purpose – This research seeks to examine police use of force from a smaller police agency perspective in comparison with what is known from previous research using data from larger‐scale agencies. Design/methodology/approach – Using police use of force reports involving arrests ( n =3,264) over a three‐year period (2002‐2004) from a small police agency located in the upper‐Midwest, this study utilizes descriptive and multivariate analyses to examine how and why officers use force. Findings – While officers resorted to physical force (beyond handcuffing) in 18 percent of the arrest encounters, the majority of force is located at the lower end of the force continuum (e.g. soft hand control). However, unlike officer behavior, much of the resistant behavior displayed by suspects is toward the upper end of the spectrum (e.g. defensive/active). The results also indicate that the most powerful predictor of force is the presence and level of suspect resistance presented to officers. These findings are placed within the context of prior work. Research limitations/implications – Since the current study relies on official data from a single police agency, the findings come with caution in terms of generalizability. Originality/value – This study contributes to the literature on police use of force by examining everyday force usage in a small police department. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management Emerald Publishing

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References (45)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1363-951X
DOI
10.1108/13639510810852576
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This research seeks to examine police use of force from a smaller police agency perspective in comparison with what is known from previous research using data from larger‐scale agencies. Design/methodology/approach – Using police use of force reports involving arrests ( n =3,264) over a three‐year period (2002‐2004) from a small police agency located in the upper‐Midwest, this study utilizes descriptive and multivariate analyses to examine how and why officers use force. Findings – While officers resorted to physical force (beyond handcuffing) in 18 percent of the arrest encounters, the majority of force is located at the lower end of the force continuum (e.g. soft hand control). However, unlike officer behavior, much of the resistant behavior displayed by suspects is toward the upper end of the spectrum (e.g. defensive/active). The results also indicate that the most powerful predictor of force is the presence and level of suspect resistance presented to officers. These findings are placed within the context of prior work. Research limitations/implications – Since the current study relies on official data from a single police agency, the findings come with caution in terms of generalizability. Originality/value – This study contributes to the literature on police use of force by examining everyday force usage in a small police department.

Journal

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 7, 2008

Keywords: Policing; Crimes; Control; Law; United States of America

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