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Examining police use of force and citizen complaints

Examining police use of force and citizen complaints The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the relationship between police use of force and citizen complaints alleging improper use of force.Design/methodology/approachThe current study utilizes official use of force and citizen complaint data, as well as surveys of patrol officers, from the Assessing Police Use of Force Policy and Outcomes Project, a multimethod National Institute of Justice funded study.FindingsBivariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the number of use of force incidents that officers were involved in, as well as the types and levels of resistance they encountered from citizens, was related to use of force complaints from citizens. That is, those officers that were involved in more use of force situations were engaged in force encounters where the highest level of citizen resistance was “failure to comply,” and faced higher cumulative levels of citizen resistance, received more complaints alleging improper use of force.Research limitations/implicationsStudies of citizen complaints against police officers, especially those alleging improper use of force, should consider the number of force incidents officers are involved in, as well as other theoretically relevant force correlates.Practical implicationsAdministrators, concerned with citizen allegations for improper use of force against their officers, should work to encourage their personnel to minimize the number of use of force applications, or at least less cumulative force, to resolve encounters with citizens.Originality/valueWhile prior studies have examined police use of force and citizen complaints independently, the current study examines the empirical connection between use of force behavior and the generation of complaints from citizens. 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 (54)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1363-951X
DOI
10.1108/pijpsm-01-2018-0024
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the relationship between police use of force and citizen complaints alleging improper use of force.Design/methodology/approachThe current study utilizes official use of force and citizen complaint data, as well as surveys of patrol officers, from the Assessing Police Use of Force Policy and Outcomes Project, a multimethod National Institute of Justice funded study.FindingsBivariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the number of use of force incidents that officers were involved in, as well as the types and levels of resistance they encountered from citizens, was related to use of force complaints from citizens. That is, those officers that were involved in more use of force situations were engaged in force encounters where the highest level of citizen resistance was “failure to comply,” and faced higher cumulative levels of citizen resistance, received more complaints alleging improper use of force.Research limitations/implicationsStudies of citizen complaints against police officers, especially those alleging improper use of force, should consider the number of force incidents officers are involved in, as well as other theoretically relevant force correlates.Practical implicationsAdministrators, concerned with citizen allegations for improper use of force against their officers, should work to encourage their personnel to minimize the number of use of force applications, or at least less cumulative force, to resolve encounters with citizens.Originality/valueWhile prior studies have examined police use of force and citizen complaints independently, the current study examines the empirical connection between use of force behavior and the generation of complaints from citizens.

Journal

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 26, 2018

Keywords: Citizen complaints; Use of force; Citizen resistance; Complaint prone officers

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