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Assessing Police Use-of-Force Policy and Outcomes

Date Published
November 28, 2016

An NIJ-funded study looked at variation in use-of-force policies among law enforcement agencies across the country, focusing on policies with a use-of-force continuum. The study included a survey mailed to a stratified random sample of police agencies and a more thorough comparative analysis of eight agencies.

From the agency survey, the researchers found that 80 percent of agencies used a continuum in their use-of-force policy. When they asked agencies to detail the levels and placement of use-of-force tactics and citizen resistance progression, they found 123 permutations in force progression, ranging from three to nine different levels (82 percent relied on five or six levels), and 23 permutations for citizen resistance progression, ranging from three to seven levels (92 percent relied on five or six levels). Determining the proper placement of chemical sprays and CEDs within the continuum was agencies’ greatest challenge.

Learn more about the study. Read an abstract and access the final report on policy and outcomes.

About This Article

The research described in this article was funded by NIJ award 2005-IJ-CX-0055, awarded to Michigan State University.

This article is based on the grantee report " Assessing Police Use of Force Policy and Outcomes" by Terrill, William, Eugene A. Paoline III, and Jason Ingram.

Date Published: November 28, 2016