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Measuring and Assessing Police Use of Force and Suspect Resistance

NCJ Number
183649
Author(s)
Geoffrey P. Alpert; Roger G. Dunham
Date Published
1998
Length
25 pages
Annotation
In presenting information on police use of force collected from the Metro-Dade Police Department in Miami and the sister cities of Eugene and Springfield, Ore., this study focused on the level of police force used compared to the level of suspect resistance.
Abstract
In presenting the findings from the Eugene and Springfield police departments, the circumstances surrounding the incidents are first described, followed by information on the suspects' characteristics and actions and the arresting officers' characteristics and actions. Most of the 562 police actions analyzed were initiated by dispatched calls (57 percent), although 33 percent of the incidents were initiated by the officer who observed a situation and reacted to it. The next analysis involved determining the highest level of officer force used in each incident and comparing that with the level of suspect resistance. The Metro-Dade data set included 882 official Control-of-Persons Reports from the last quarter of 1993 and the full years of 1994 and 1995. Findings from the Metro-Dade Police Department first focus on the suspects' characteristics and actions, followed by the arresting officers' characteristics and actions. This is followed by analyses of the interaction patterns between officers and suspects. Finally, an analysis of officer and suspect ethnicity is presented. The data indicate that officers were more likely to be injured when using less force relative to the resistance of the suspect. Injuries to suspects increased only minimally as the amount of force used by the police increased relative to the amount of resistance. This report discusses policy and training implications of the findings, along with directions for future research. 6 tables, 2 figures, and 6 references

Date Published: January 1, 1998