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Less Lethal Weapon Effectiveness, Use of Force, and Suspect & Officer Injuries: A Five-Year Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
104 pages
This study examined police use-of-force levels and subject resistance levels in two Central Florida agencies: the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) and the Orlando Police Department (OPD).
This research identified a phenomenon that the researchers refer to as a “Force Deficit.” This refers to the common scenario in which officers used repeated applications of force that were insufficient to subdue a resisting suspect. When examining conflicts at the event level, this research focused on TASER’s ability to end officer-suspect confrontations. A total of 2,395 use-of-force reports indicated conflict ended at the first “iteration” (the officers’ first application of force). In the first iteration, TASER’s were deployed 2,113 times. Out of these deployments, 1,459 ended the conflict at the first TASER application (69-percent success rate); chemical agents had a 65-percent success rate; impact weapons had a 45-percent success rate at the first iteration; takedown had a 42-percent success rate; and compliance holds had a 16-percent success rate. These findings suggest that the use of decisive force with the TASER early on in active suspect resistance is more likely than other less-lethal weapons to end the conflict quickly and thereby reduce the likelihood of additional injuries, whose rates increase as second and third applications of force (iterations) are applied. Probably the most surprising finding of this study was the value of the police working dog. For the first time, the impact of a K9 team as a deterrent and force option were measured. At the first application of force, police dogs were more successful at ending the conflict than either a TASER or a chemical agent. Implications are drawn for future research and the temporal analysis of law enforcement and suspect confrontations. 50 tables, 16 figures, and 29 references

Date Published: January 1, 2008