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Use of Force: Guides & Reports

Analysis of Police Use-of-Force Data
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), July 2000.
A report on the findings of force used by police in the Metro-Dade (Miami) Police Department and in the Eugene and Springfield, Oregon Police Departments. Looks at officer and suspect characteristics, patterns of interaction, the role of alcohol or drugs in suspect's behavior, and other factors. (NCJ 183648)

Characteristics of Drivers Stopped by Police, 1999
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), March 2002.
In partial response to the requirements of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the BJS in 1999 initiated the Survey of Police Contact as part of its required annual report on police use of force. (NCJ 191548)

Citizen Review of Police: Approaches and Implementation
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), March 2001.
The publication is intended to help citizens, law enforcement officers and executives, union leaders, and public interest groups understand the advantages and disadvantages of nine approaches to citizen oversight systems and components. (NCJ 184430)

Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 1999 National Survey
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), February 2001.
The findings in this report are based on the largest self-report survey conducted among the U.S. resident population about contacts between the public and the police, and the outcomes of those contacts. The objective was to learn about how often and under what circumstances a traffic stop or other contact becomes problematic. (NCJ 207845)

Controlling Police Use of Excessive Force: The Role of the Police Psychologist
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), October 1994.
A summary of a study sponsored by the NIJ as part of a Department of Justice effort to identify means of controlling police use of force. The study identifies the functions of psychologists that are relevant to officers' mental health, specifically their use of excessive force, and presented recommendations on how to predict, remedy, and prevent excessive force.(NCJ 150063)

Coping with Police Misconduct in West Virginia: Citizen Involvement in Officer Disciplinary Procedures: A Review of Existing Law, Legislative Initiatives, and Disciplinary Models
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, January 2004.
This report describes the ongoing problem of police brutality and existing law and structure to address disciplinary issues. It reviews past legislative attempts to reform disciplinary procedures in West Virginia and the experience of two recent review boards, and discusses alternative models and methods, such as accountability and incentive strategies, used in other parts of the United States. (NCJ 204135)

Curbing Brutality: What Works? A Re-analysis of Citizen Complaints at the Organizational Level, Final Report
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), February 2002.
Re-analyzes data collected in 1993 on citizen complaints against police use of force. The report includes two areas of study: police use of excessive physical force and police use of nonphysical force, such as abuse of authority and verbal abuse. The report concludes that stronger in-service training, recognizing educational achievements of officers, and providing the best training for new officers can have a positive influence on officer behavior.   (NCJ 192518)

Data Collection on Police Use of Force
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), April 1996.
This report highlights findings from existing research on police use of force and describes the collection methods of BJS and the National Institute of Justice. (NCJ 160113)

Deaths in Police Confrontation When Oleoresin Capsicum is Used
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), February 2004.
Studies 63 incidents where a law enforcement officer used oleoresin capsicum to subdue an individual, after which the individual died. (NCJ 204029)

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Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons and Equipment Review: A Research Guide for Civil Law Enforcement and Corrections
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), June 2003.
This report is a brief overview of the Department of Defense Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program comprising the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. It includes a brief overview of federal, state, and local civil law enforcement incorporation of non-lethal or less-than-lethal technology.

Distant Early Warning Signs (DEWS) System
U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS), November 2001.
A list of indicators for assessing the potential for racial tension in a community.

Early Intervention Systems for Law Enforcement Agencies: A Planning and Management Guide 
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), August 2003.
This publication explores the benefits and risks of early intervention systems. An Early Intervention (EI) system is a data-based management tool designed to identify officers whose performance exhibits problems, and then to provide interventions, usually counseling or training to correct those performance problems. EI systems have emerged as an important mechanism for ensuring police accountability.
Written by professor Sam Walker, Ph.D. of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, this guidebook discusses successful early intervention systems all over the country, focusing on large agencies.

The Effectiveness and Safety of Pepper Spray
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), April 2003.
This report presents the findings from two recent unpublished NIJ-funded studies testing the safety and effectiveness of pepper spray. One study looked at officer and suspect injuries in three North Carolina police jurisdictions before and after the use of pepper spray was introduced. The second study examined the deaths of 63 suspects held in custody after pepper spray was used in their arrest. (NCJ 195739)

Evaluating the Effects of Fatigue on Police Patrol Officers, Final Report
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), August 2000.
Fatigue associated with the pattern and length of work hours contribute to police accidents, injuries, and misconduct. This report is the result of a pilot project that evaluated fatigue on a sample of patrol officers in Lowell, Massachusetts; Polk County, Florida; Portland, Oregon; and Arlington County, Virginia, and offers guidelines for reducing fatigue or ameliorating its effects. (NCJ 184188)

Factors That Influence Public Opinion of the Police
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), June 2003.
A survey of Los Angeles residents showed that police can improve public opinion of themselves by increasing their informal contacts with citizens by participating in community meetings, increasing their visibility in neighborhoods, and talking with citizens. (NCJ 197925)

Getting Smarter: Making Guns Safer for Law Enforcement and Consumers
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), July 2000.
This NIJ Journal article clarifies some of the concerns associated with safer, smarter guns as they are used by law enforcement and by the general public. Describes smart gun features, how a radio frequency gun works, and discusses technical problems and smart guns in the home. (NCJ 183456)

How Police Supervisory Styles Influence Patrol Officer Behavior
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), June 2003.
A recent study of urban police departments that were implementing problem-solving/community policing strategies found that a field supervisor's style may have a profound effect on patrol officer behavior. Of the four supervisory styles identified in the research, "active" was more likely to have either a positive or negative influence of officer behavior. (NCJ 194078)

Impact of Oleoresin Capsicum Spray on Respiratory Function in Human Subjects in the Sitting and Prone Maximal Restraint Positions
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), May 2000.
With the wide acceptance of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray as a swift, effective way to subdue violent, dangerous subjects in the field, its use is alleged to have been associated with a number of in-custody deaths. This study assessed the safety of commercially available OC spray on the human respiratory function when used alone and when used in conjunction with the prone maximal restraint position. (NCJ 182433)

Keeping the Peace: Police Discretion and Mentally Ill Persons
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), July 2000.
This NIJ Journal article discusses the police role in handling mentally ill persons including law enforcement's options, the implications of criminalizing mental illness, and policy recommendations. (NCJ 183455)

Law Enforcement Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption
U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), May 1998.
A report to Congressman Charles B. Rangel on the impact of drug trafficking on the corruption of police in large cities that have a high incidence of drug trafficking and abuse. Provides information on the nature and extent of known drug-related police corruption in certain large cities; factors associated with known drug-related police corruption; and practices that have been recommended or implemented to prevent or detect drug-related police corruption. (NCJ 177353)

Marketing Community Policing in the News: A Missed Opportunity 
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), June 2003.
This report describes how the relationship between the police and the media affects coverage of community policing. While media coverage is favorable, crime stories often overshadow other coverage. Police should go beyond the conventional means they now use and look at the possibility of using the news media as one component of a broad outreach strategy. (NCJ 200473)

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The Measurement of Police Integrity
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), May 2000.
This report summarizes a study that measured police integrity in 20 police agencies across the United States. Researchers asked officers for their opinions about 11 hypothetical cases of police misconduct and measured how seriously officers regarded police corruption, how willing they were to support its punishment, and how willing they were to report it. (NCJ 181465)

Men, Women, and Police Excessive Force: A Tale of Two Genders
National Center for Women and Policing, April 2002.
The report illuminates the differences in the way that men and women perform their policing duties and highlights the importance of hiring women as a strategy for reducing problems of excessive force.

Phoenix Project: Predictors of Suspect Use of Force
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), April 2001.
Motivated by a need on the part of the Phoenix (Arizona) Police Department (PPD) and the National Institute of Justice, the PPD in conjunction with Rutgers University and Arizona State University designed and conducted a study of the use of force by and against Phoenix police officers. The primary source of information was a two-page survey completed by Phoenix police officers after they made arrests during a 2-week period in June 1994. (NCJ 187776)

Police Attitudes Toward Abuse of Authority: Findings from a National Study
National Institute of Justice (NIJ, May 2000.
A report on the Police Foundation's national, 92-question telephone survey of 925 randomly selected American police officers from 122 departments that explores the officers' views on the abuse of police authority. (NCJ 181312) 

Police Encounters with Juvenile Suspects: Explaining the Use of Authority and Provision of Support, Final Report
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), April 2004.
A study of police-juvenile interactions focusing on police use of authority toward, and police provision of support and assistance to, juveniles encountered by patrol offices on the street. (NCJ 205125)

Police Responses to Officer-Involved Shooting
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), February 2002.
Eighty municipal and county police officers who shot citizens were interviewed to study what they experienced both during and after the shootings, including their physical and emotional reactions and any "post-shooting trauma." (NCJ 199286)

Police Training Officer Program (PTO)
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), October 2003.
This PTO model is an alternative to current field officer training programs. Based on community policing and collaborative problem-solving principles, the model is designed for training new officers and incorporates contemporary adult educational methods and a version of problem-based learning adapted for the police.

Police Use of Excessive Force: A Conciliation Handbook for the Police and the Community
U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS), June 2002.
This guidebook was developed to give the police and community groups options for addressing any controversy surrounding the police use of excessive or deadly force. It provides practical guidelines for resolving community disputes involving excessive or deadly use of force disputes. A conciliation approach is an effective method for resolving police-community conflicts.

Police Use of Force: Addressing Community Racial Tensions
U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS), September 2003.
This CRS Bulletin discusses what communities and police departments can do to ease racial tensions, open lines of communication, and rebuild trust.

Police Use of Force in America, 2001
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), October 2001.
The IACP's National Police Use of Force Database is the first substantial aggregation of state, county, and local law enforcement use-of-force data. Information in the report covers the years 1991 to 2000. The report contains some of the recent and noteworthy findings from the data.

Principles of Good Policing: Avoiding Violence between Police and Citizens
U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS), September 2003.
Police departments and communities all over the United States must know how to maintain law and order in a complex and changing multicultural society. Frequently, these efforts involve minority citizens' complaints about police behavior, use of force, and hate groups. This third edition of the publication sets out guiding principles that should govern police work in the community.

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Racial Profiling Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), June 2003.
Justice Department guidelines for prohibiting racial profiling by law enforcement officers.

Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response 
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), July 2003.
A major product of the PERF/COPS partnership, this document outlines major areas of intervention for agencies concerned about racially biased policing and the perceptions of its practice. It details approaches for supervision and accountability, policy, recruitment and hiring, training and education, community outreach, and data collection.

Responding to Incidents Involving Allegations of Excessive Use of Force: A Checklist to Guide Police Executives
U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS), September 2003.
Provides information on steps to take in the aftermath of an incident of police excessive use of force: provide information, start an investigation, enlist the community's help and support, and announce the results of the investigation. Also lists other actions police leaders should take to assure that policies and procedures governing use of force are adequate.

Responding to the Problem Officer: A National Study of Early Warning Systems, Final Report
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), September 2000.
The growing popularity of early warning (EW) systems as accountability measures focusing on problem officers and their uses as a management tool for identifying a wide range of problems has raised questions about their effectiveness. This report discusses the concept of EW systems, explores the principal issues related to the management and evaluation of EW systems, and reports the findings of both a national survey of the prevalence of EW systems and case studies of EW systems in three police districts: Miami-Dade, Florida; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and New Orleans, Louisiana. (NCJ 184510)

Safety and Control in a County Jail: Nonlethal Weapons and the Use of Force
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), March 2000.
The report evaluates the decision by the Maricopa County, Arizona, jail system to adopt the use of nonlethal weapons as a means of controlling inmates, the effects of controlling inmates in this manner, and the effects on officers and on the jail environment. (NCJ 180316) 

Tired Cops: The Prevalence and Potential Consequences of Police Fatigue
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), March 2002.
Limited data suggest that police fatigue contributes to the problems of police officer accidents (such as falling asleep at the wheel and crashing one's vehicle), injuries, and citizen complaints. This report explores the causes of police fatigue and what can be done about it. (NCJ 190634)

Understanding the Prevalence and Severity of Force Used By and Against the Police, Executive Summary
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), October 2002.
Based on confidential reports from police officers in six law enforcement agencies in 1996 and 1997, this report measures the prevalence of physical force and the severity of force used in 7,512 adult custody arrests. It determines the extent to which the situations, police officers, and suspects are associated with the increased prevalence of physical force or increase severity of force. (NCJ 196693)

Understanding Use of Force By and Against the Police in Six Jurisdictions, Final Report
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), October 2002.
Describes the design and implementation of a series of studies measuring the continuum of force ordinarily used by police officers and suspects and assesses the extent to which characteristics of the arrest situation and of the officer and suspect are associated with the increased use of force. (NCJ 196694)

Use of Force by Police: Overview of National and Local Data
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), November 1999.
Presents findings on the extent and nature of police use of force, discusses the difficulties in establishing measurement guidelines, illuminates circumstances under which force is applied, and provides a general framework for future research on excessive displays of force. (NCJ 176330)

Variable Range Less-Than-Lethal Ballistics
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), January 2003.
Very few tools are available to the police and military when confronted with long-range situations in which less-than-lethal force is a desirable option. This final report results from a study investigating the feasibility of developing a variable-range, less-than-lethal ballistic and concludes that such a ballistic is possible, although a lot of work remains to be done before it can become a reality. (NCJ 199046)

Visual Effects Assessment of Green Laser Baton Illuminator (GLBI)
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), August 2001.
The GLBI was developed as a nonlethal device for use in prison and arrest scenarios. The U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory tested the device and this report presents information on test methods and results, a medical risk analysis, observations, and program recommendations. (NCJ 189571) 

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