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Analyzing Characteristics of Police-Citizen Encounters in High-Risk Search Warrant Issuances, Domestic Disturbances, Hostage and/or Barricaded Persons Incidents, and Encounters With Fleeing Felony Suspects

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1996
313 pages
The characteristics of encounters between police and citizens in five types of high-risk situations were studied to provide information for developing approaches involving technologies and tactics to allow the police to control difficult situations with the minimum use of force possible.
The research focused on high-risk issuances of search warrants and situations involving domestic disturbances, hostages, barricaded persons, and fleeing felony suspects. Information came from a literature review and analyses of existing data sets and newly collected data. It analyzed this information using a model of officer use of control tactics and technologies in police-citizen encounters. Results revealed a lack of available, consistently reported data regarding what constitutes each type of situation, the characteristics surrounding them, and the parties involved. Limited data are available on the base rates at which these situations occur or comparisons across police agencies. In addition, the coincidence of alcohol or other drug use in these situations is remarkable. It is also apparent that police officer beliefs regarding their safety is a crucial factor in determining the ways in which they plan for encounters, assess them, and decide how to proceed; police officer preparation reduces the probability of injury. Findings have major implications for training and technical assistance in law enforcement agencies and underscore the importance of the situational dynamics rather than the situations themselves. Tables, figure, and chapter reference lists

Date Published: January 1, 1996