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Report Addresses Public Perceptions of Police Use of Force

June 29, 2012  | 

The use of force by law enforcement officers has continuously been a controversial topic, often resulting in false perceptions by the public, particularly the concern that police use force at a relatively high level. Statistical research shows just the opposite: Police use force with constant and careful discretion, claims the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Community Oriented Policing Services' (COPS).

In 2008, the Bureau of Justice Statistics completed a study that found that of the 40 million persons who had contact with police, only 1.9% of the respondents reported the use or the threat of force at least once during these contacts. Unfortunately, media depictions continue to create the perception that use or threat of force by the police is greater than it actually is. The IACP and COPS report, titled Emerging Use of Force Issues: Balancing Public and Officer Safety, addresses this concern and other significant force policy issues, including the following:

  • Current use-of-force issues and concerns of law enforcement leaders
  • Use-of-force policy and training advancement over the past five years
  • Recent use-of-force incidents or issues that have affected law enforcement approach
  • Use-of-force litigation and risk management from a local agency perspective
  • New and emerging research on use of force at the university and law enforcement levels
  • Concerns about use of force that merit further exploration and investigation

Read the full report.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

carla hunt @ 7/2/2012 9:56 AM

alot of the so called abuse is perceived abuse not actual abuse. unfortunately we bring most of it on ourselves. law enforcement shouldnt have to beg and plead with ppl they stop. i have noticed an awful trend of disrepect towards everybody especially law enforcement. i have tremendous respect for law enforcement and never been afraid nor felt disrepected by any officer. the general public have no idea what officers deal with every single day. ppl running from them, have to stand occused of wrongdoing and much much more. i promise u that not the first one of them could make it through one shift. im sure that maybe a few officers may have crossed that line, and from ive seen they were dealt with accordingly. ppl r expected to be caretakers, mental health expects, athletes, have super human sight and hearing. etc. PLUS they have to make life and death decisions in the blink of an eye. if the ppl arent happy with they think is wrong, then why dont they volunteer to ride along with an officer and then only then see the reality of the job. they dont have a clue plus it seems that todays society is all about me, me, me. they dont have any understanding of anything except what they want. im sorry ive carried on here. i have alot more to say, but i wont except more ppl need to back up, close their mouths, watch and start working hand and with law enforcement. i remember the days when the system actually worked that way. theres too many ppl in the u.s. to start pulling apart. the ppl in society today make me ashamed.

carla hunt @ 7/2/2012 9:59 AM

i apologize for the mispellings and incorrect grammar in my previous post, i am so passionate about this subject that i have a tendency to get carried away.

DaveSAM25G @ 7/2/2012 9:33 PM

“Justifiable use of Force” I like Dave Grossi wording recommendations of reports or use of forms “Subject Management Control” (SMC) as he stated in his article Police Marksman best of book. The word “FORCE” can be a misnomer or misleading gives the impression you did something wrong when you did not! “The decision to use management control (UOF) is based on circumstances as presented at the time of incident. Not weeks or days later when more information may be know, but at the time of action…The final determination of justification will be based on law.

The justification is decided case-by-case within context of state laws (your Policy is based on Law) both State and Federal constitutional law (4th) case law, and each case judged on merits of that particular case in question. Other cases may be brought up in case law or context during civil suits however. Issues in (SMC)-(UOF) conflicting reports and premature press releases containing inaccurate, unconfirmed information can and are the cause many times of public distrust and related problems. One must also remember that in all actions Trust and Credibility are earned.

Sort of like Internal/External Discipline – You are not born with discipline. It is a learned behavior through life’s experiences both positive and negative. Each day we are faced with decisions right or wrong. This is where good internal discipline makes the difference. It prevents you or your people from ever needing external discipline as a result of your or their actions.

Rev. Lowrey @ 7/3/2012 9:48 AM

The constant and daily barrage of reports of multi-officer and institutional abuse make this report a sick joke.
LEO's need to follow official procedures and obey the law.
Those who make up the law as they go deserve no respect and destroy the reputation of all LEO's.

Steve @ 7/3/2012 10:44 AM

Let's say for argument purposes that when your in contact with a Police Officer for some infraction he accuses you of, lets say he is dead wrong, completely against the law. All you have to do is do what he/she says and after the contact, if you think they are wrong plead not guilty and go in to the Police Dept and file a complaint. If the Officer is wrong he will be dealt with. You trying to deal with the officer on the scene and becoming combantant is only going to end up BAD, trust me when I say you will do what they say one way or the other, so be smart, answer yes sir no sir and make your complaint to the courts and their departments.

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