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NCJ Number: 209260 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Force, Civil Litigation, and the Taser: One Agency's Experience
Author(s): Steve Hougland Ph.D.; Charlie Mesloh Ph.D.; Mark Henych Ph.D.
Date Published: March 2005
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the use of the Taser by police officers, a less-than-lethal alternative to deadly force.
Abstract: Across the country police agencies have faced a steep increase in the number of lawsuits brought against police officers by citizens. During the period 1984 through 2000, the number of lawsuits filed nationally increased approximately 40 percent. This increase in civil litigation has taken place because of two trends: (1) the public holds higher standards of accountability for public institutions than ever before, and (2) the public is more willing than ever to file lawsuits. Lawsuits generally fall into five categories: false arrest, excessive force, shootings, wrongful death, and Federal civil rights violations. High-profile cases involving police use of force have cast the law enforcement profession in a negative light and have increased the public’s skepticism toward the police. The Taser was developed as a less lethal option for police officers; the technology administers an electric charge to individuals that causes muscular dysfunction, providing a temporary incapacitating effect which allows officers to quickly subdue and take charge of a suspect. Tasers have proven to be one of the most popular less-than-lethal technologies used by law enforcement. Tasers became the Orange County Sheriff’s Office most frequently used less lethal weapon in 2000, shortly after its implementation. Research is reviewed that suggests the use of Tasers by police officers reduces the need to use deadly force. In today’s social climate and with the emergence and proliferation of community-oriented policing, the use of less lethal technologies is clearly the most acceptable and humane way of maintaining public peace and order. Textboxes, endnotes
Main Term(s): Civil litigation; Less lethal technologies
Index Term(s): Lawful use of force; Police equipment; Science and Technology; Tasers
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