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Police Expertise and Use of Force: Using a Mixed-Methods Approach To Model Expert and Novice Use-of-Force Decision-Making

NCJ Number
Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology Volume: 35 Dated: 2020 Pages: 294-303
Laura Mangels; Joel Suss; Brian Lande
Date Published
10 pages
Since improving police use-of-force training is methodologically difficult, this article presents a method for identifying the "expert" response to any given scenario; and by triangulating multiple methods, it intends to contribute to police departments' capacities to engage in more effective and targeted training.
Forty-two police experts and 36 novices watched five scenarios taken from body-worn camera footage. The videos were paused at several points, and respondents gave both close-ended survey answers and open-ended written answers. Using a mixed-methods approach that combined quantitative regression and natural-language-processing techniques, findings were triangulated to reach conclusions about the differences between experts and novices. Relative to novices, expert police officers were more likely to report the importance of force mitigation opportunities in any given scenario in close-ended questions, and they were more likely to use words associated with verbal de-escalation; novices, on the other hand, were more likely to use words associated with physical control. The materials can be accessed at https://osf.io/wujkz/. 45 references (publisher abstract modified)