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Evaluation of Oleoresin Capsicum (O.C.) Use by Law Enforcement Agencies: Impact on Injuries to Officers and Suspects, Summary of Research Findings

NCJ Number
184935
Date Published
Author(s)
Bowling, J. Michael; Gaines, Monica
Annotation
This study collected retrospective data describing injuries to police officers from assaults and injuries to suspects from police use of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray in North Carolina.
Abstract
Study sites involved the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Winston Salem Police Department, as well as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. The study goal was to assess the impact of equipping police officers in the field with OC spray on the number of injuries to police officers and suspects resulting from police use of force. Suspect injury data were available from the two police departments. While a drop in the number of injured police officers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg appeared to coincide with the implementation of OC spray, statistical tests did not confirm that the implementation of OC spray was associated with a decline the number of injured police officers. Likewise, OC spray could not be confirmed as contributing to a decline in the monthly count of injured police officers in Winston Salem. The implementation of OC spray by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was marked by a significant decline in the monthly count of injured patrol officers. Between 1975 and 1998, 94 excessive use of force complaints were filed against patrol officers, but complaints dropped sharply in 1993 coinciding with the issuance of OC spray to patrol officers. 6 figures
Date Created: March 11, 2003