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Front-Line Supervisors’ Perceptions of Less-Lethal Force Policies: Examining the ‘Transmission Belts’ of Police Departments

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2011
13 pages
This study examined police sergeants’ attitudes regarding their departments’ less-lethal force policies.
This study uses survey data from five municipal police agencies to examine sergeants’ attitudes regarding the clarity, discretionary assistance, restrictiveness, and guidance of their departments’ less-lethal force policies. In general, sergeants reported favorable attitudes toward their respective policies. However, this support varied to some extent across types of resistance, with somewhat weaker support for departmental policy in regard to lower levels of resistance (e.g., verbal and passive). Analyses reveal some interdepartmental differences regarding sergeants’ attitudes on policy restrictiveness; while sergeants from one department generally reported that their policy was not restrictive enough, sergeants from another department were more likely to feel that their policy was too restrictive. Finally, this research finds that sergeants’ personal views on the appropriateness of different force options to control resistant citizens varied at times from their department's policy. Implications of these findings for practice and research are discussed. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: November 1, 2011