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Comparing Safety Outcomes in Police Use-Of-Force Cases for Law Enforcement Agencies That Have Deployed Conducted Energy Devices and A Matched Comparison Group That Have Not: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2009
101 pages
This is among the first studies to use a quasi-experiment to compare safety outcomes for officers and citizens with law enforcement agencies (n=7) that deploy conducted-energy devices (CEDs) compared with matched law enforcement agencies (n=6) that do not deploy CEDs.
The agencies that use CEDs had improved safety outcomes on six of nine safety measures compared to the matched non-CED agencies. These six measures pertained to officer injuries; suspect injuries, including severe injuries; officers and suspects who received injuries that required medical attention; and suspects who received an injury that resulted in the suspect being taken to an emergency treatment facility. For CED agencies, in some cases officers' actual use of a CED was associated with improved safety outcomes compared to other less-lethal weapons. There were no differences, however, between the CED and non-CED agencies on the outcomes of the number of suspect deaths, officer severe injuries, and officer injuries that required hospitalization. Based on these findings, the study concludes that CEDs can be an effective weapon in preventing or minimizing physical struggles in use-of-force cases. Agencies should consider the utility of the CED as a way to avoid up-close combative situations and reduce injuries to officers and suspects. The study controlled for a variety of incident factors: force used by an officer, time frame of an incident, suspect race/gender/age, suspect resistant behavior, and suspect weapon use. It also controlled for agency-related factors: agency policy on CEDs, size/density of the agency, and population density of the jurisdiction. For the agencies that used CEDs, data were collected 2 years before deployment and 2 years after CED deployment. For the non-CED agencies, data were collected for 4 years over a similar period. 20 tables and 109 references

Date Published: September 1, 2009