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Police Use of Force, Tasers and Other Less-Lethal Weapons

NCJ Number
Geoffrey P. Alpert; Michael R. Smith; Robert J. Kaminski; Lorie A. Fridell; John MacDonald; Bruce Kubu
Date Published
May 2011
28 pages

This research report from the National Institute of Justice examines the injuries that are sustained by law enforcement personnel and citizens during use-of-force events.


The general, overall findings from the study indicate that in use-of-force events citizen injury rates ranged from 17 to 64 percent, depending on the injury, while officer injury rates ranged from 10 to 20 percent. The study also found that in use-of-force events the use of conducted energy devices (CEDs) and pepper sprays could significantly reduce the rate of injuries to suspects, while the use of CEDs could decrease the rate of injuries to officers. Data for this study were obtained from the evaluation of 962 "real-world" CED uses at 6 police departments across the country: Richland County, SC, Sheriff's Department; Miami-Dade Police Department; Seattle Police Department; Orlando, FL, Police Department; Austin, TX, Police Department; and Columbia, SC, Police Department. The study was undertaken to determine whether CEDs are safe and effective for use in cases with changing levels of suspect resistance. The study found that while the injury data supplied by the agencies did not allow for detailed analysis of the injuries reported by suspects and officers, the overall findings did indicate that the use of CEDs actually decreased the likelihood that suspects would be injured in use-of-force events. Previous research examining the use of CEDs and other techniques and weapons to overcome suspect resistance is discussed, along with implications for policy changes, training, and future research. Notes