This document presents the major findings from a study on the outcomes of police use of force.
Findings from this study indicate that 45 percent of State and local law enforcement agencies allow for use of OC spray to overcome passive resistance while 20-30 percent allow for use of conducted electrical devices (CEDs) under these circumstances. The study also found that these devices were similarly effective at reducing the probability of injury for both the suspect and the officer, especially when passive resistance encounters escalated in degree of resistance. In addition, the findings showed that CEDs were used four to five times more often than OC spray among agencies that provided CEDs to their officers. Data for this study were obtained through several methods: 1) a survey of over 500 State and local law enforcement agencies provided an overview of how less lethal force technologies, training, and policies are being used; 2) use of force datasets from Seattle, WA, Miami-Dade, FL, and Richland County, SC, were analyzed to identify individual and situational predictors of injuries to officers and citizens during these events; 3) over 24,000 use of force records from 12 police agencies were analyzed to investigate the relationship between situational and policy-related factors and the likelihood of injury to police and citizens, 4) a longitudinal analysis explored the effect on injury rates of the adoption of the Taser by police departments in Austin, TX, and Orlando, FL; and 5) in-depth interviews with over 250 officers and 25 citizens involved in use of force events in 2 mid-size law enforcement agencies, one of which issued the Taser to its officers and one of which did not. Recommendations for increasing the safe use of OC spray and CEDs are provided. References
Date Published: January 1, 2009