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