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Deadly Force: What We Know; A Practitioner's Desk Reference on Police-Involved Shootings

NCJ Number
W A Geller; M Scott
Date Published
654 pages
Based on a literature review and relevant data from 13 large American cities and counties, this book assesses current data collection and analysis on incidents that involve the police use of deadly force and presents data and analysis on the prevalence of police-involved shootings, the characteristics of such shootings, and shooting-control strategies.
A chapter examines data limitations that hamper an accurate understanding of police use of deadly force. These include divergent definitions across jurisdictions, the lack of contextual information about police departments and their communities, and incomplete data. The authors call for a National Deadly Force Reporting System. Another chapter provides information on the prevalence of police-involved shootings. This encompasses shootings of civilians by police and shootings of police officers. Information on shootings of civilians by police compares prevalence in neighborhoods, police districts, and cities; considers fatality rates and hit rates; and reports on the number of fatal police shootings of civilians. Data on the shootings of police address the number of officers killed or shot nonfatally, the number of officers who might have been killed but for the protection of soft body armor, hit rates and fatality rates, accidental deaths, the use of deadly force against police in smaller jurisdictions, and the long-term national trends in shootings of police. A third chapter presents data on various aspects of shootings of and by police. The data focus on situations that escalated into shootings by police; the race/ethnicity of civilians and officers; uniform status and assignment of officers; gender, age, and criminal justice experience of those involved; day, month, time of day, and lighting conditions; location and public visibility; weapon used; and reasons for shootings. The chapter on shooting-control strategies discusses policy development; policy enforcement and personnel practices; and training, weapons, and equipment. The concluding chapter discusses the setting of agency standards of conduct by managing organizational values, the management of public information in the aftermath of a controversial police- involved shooting, and the next frontiers of operational research on the control of police-civilian violence. 102 tables, 86 figures, 1,500 reference and bibliographic listings, and appended supplementary information