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Listen to Me! Police Officers' Views of Appropriate Use of Force

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime & Justice Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: November 2011 Pages: 178-189
Eugene A. Paoline, III; William Terrill
Date Published
November 2011
12 pages
This study investigated police polices on the use of force.
Police use of force research has concentrated heavily on officer behavior. Much of what is known from the attitudinal side has tended to focus on officers' views of excessive force. The authors currently lack a clear understanding of officers' beliefs regarding the everyday application of less lethal force. Utilizing survey data collected as part of a national multi-agency use of force project, the current study addresses this empirical void by allowing patrol officers to choose, irrespective of their departmental guidelines, what they believe to be appropriate forms of force in dealing with different levels of non-compliance. Somewhat surprisingly, the findings reveal a natural progression in terms of a use of force continuum, whereby patrol officers are rather conservative in their force options relative to citizen resistance. Based on the survey responses, a model is constructed that depicts an officer-based use of force continuum. (Published Abstract)