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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193036 Find in a Library
Title: Police Use of Deadly Force: Where We Should be Looking (From Policing and Violence, P 101-126, 2002, Ronald G. Burns, Charles E. Crawford, eds., -- See NCJ-193031)
Author(s): Steven E. Reifert
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 26
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter questions the existing literature dealing with police use of deadly force.
Abstract: Police use force to do their job and this force is sometimes deadly. Legally they have the right to use such force to protect the lives of others or themselves. Three issues are of consideration when discussing the use of deadly force and resistance. The first is the reliability of the information on police use of deadly force. The second is the push to overcome any resistance to using deadly force. A third issue is the lack of information and research regarding the inability or intentional resistance to using deadly force. The measurement of police use of force has long been a source of controversy between researchers and practitioners. The methodological limitations are immense when information is attempted to be gained pertaining to police use of deadly force. Most sample sizes are too small. The two major sources of information pertaining to police shootings are the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s supplementary homicide reports and the National Center on Health Statistics’ annual report, the latter simply recording only deaths. Police training has evolved over the past two decades to include night shooting, strobes, and distractions from the target, multiple shooting positions, and the use of simulation machines. Script theory is based on a cognitive process whereby an officer follows certain learned scripts stored in his/her psyche. Two categories of scripts are related to police use of deadly force. One is called the social-situational script and the other the deadly force script. The four phases police officers go through in deadly confrontations with citizens are anticipation, entry and initial contact, information exchange, and final frame. There appears to be no effort in academe or policing to focus on nonshooters and the reason for restraint. The police are resistant to talk about or indicate or report “shoot/don’t shoot” situations for fear of being second-guessed. Current police training focuses more on the mechanics than the interpersonal/human interaction training needed to avoid surprise confrontational encounters. 38 references
Main Term(s): Police research; Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): Fleeing felons; Lawful use of force; Police safety; Police weapons use; Professional misconduct; Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
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