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Police Use of Force: Tales from Another City

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2011
16 pages
This study examined police decisionmaking in the use of force.
Over the past 50 years the study of officer use of force has moved from qualitative assessments of officer behaviors to complex quantitative studies using advanced statistical techniques to parcel out the influence of a host of explanatory variables. Further, these studies have moved beyond examining simple force dichotomies (i.e., such as force, no force) to assessments of officer decisions to use both physical and non-physical forms of force and coercion. Most recent studies use data collected as part of the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN). We report findings using observational data collected as part of the Cincinnati Observation Study. This study makes two important contributions to the literature. First, whether certain variables were significant depends partially on the statistical technique used to estimate models. Second, a substantial number of explanatory variables were significant irrespective of the technique used and were consistent with the findings from POPN studies on the use of force. Confidence in the importance of these variables for explaining police use of force is discussed. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: November 1, 2011