Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $282,551)
This project will develop a common metric for evaluating police performance in real or simulated deadly force encounters. The ability to evaluate performance in these encounters is currently very limited and, as a consequence, so is our ability to understand the dynamics of police deadly force confrontations or to evaluate what kind of policies, practices and training work best. The lack of available performance measures also makes it difficult to assess whether policies and procedures are being adhered to, or to hold people accountable for doing so. It also is extremely difficult for an organization to evaluate whether management practices and training are having the desired impact or identify effective ways to improve performance.
The researchers conducting the proposed study project that it will save lives and increase government efficiency by increasing the validity and precision of efficacy studies and cost/benefit analyses that, in turn, enable policy makers and trainers to improve practices. The research team will use an expert judges scale development process to create a Deadly Force Scenario Performance Metric (DFSPM) with interval-level measurement scales, then pilot test the metric using rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental research designs. It is anticipated that this metric will make it possible to compare officer performance across deadly force situations by 1) consistently measuring performance criteria that veteran police trainers and policy makers agree are most important, and 2) controlling for their relative difficulty. This capability will make it possible to compare the extent to which a management or training intervention affects the probability that officers will be able to achieve an optimal'or at least acceptable'outcome in a deadly force encounter. This capability is vital for evaluating organizational performance and developing effective deadly force training.