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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201987 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding Police Use of Force
Author(s): Howard Rahtz
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 170
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Press/Willow Tree Press
Monsey, NY 10952
Publication Number: ISBN 1-881798-42-9
Sale Source: Criminal Justice Press/Willow Tree Press
P.O. Box 249
Monsey, NY 10952
United States of America
Type: Instructional Material; Overview Text
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book, intended for use in training police officers, examines legal and discretionary issues pertinent to police use of force and proposes steps to minimize the police use of force.
Abstract: The first chapter notes the difficulty of constructing a clear and consistently applied policy for the proper use of force by police, largely because of a lack of community consensus on a framework and language for the review and discussion of the police use of force. The second chapter discusses definitional issues in discussing police use of force, followed by a chapter on case law pertinent to the police use of force. The latter chapter discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor. Garner allows police officers to use force to protect themselves and others from threats to their safety, but this does not settle the issue regarding an officer's perception of a threat. Connor identified four factors to apply to each case to determine whether a particular use of force is reasonable: the severity of the crime at issue; whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others; whether he is actively resisting; and whether he is attempting to evade arrest by flight. The fourth chapter examines the widespread perception that police have a tendency to use excessive force against minority citizens, notably African-Americans. This is followed by a chapter that briefly describes various force options. These include the mere presence of a uniformed officer; verbal communications/commands; multiple officers; chemical irritant; hands-on physical control; less-than-lethal baton use; other less-than-lethal impact options; electronic less-than-lethal weapons; and firearms. Remaining chapters focus on discretionary officer decisions about the level of force to use in controlling subjects, components of use-of-force training, steps for minimizing police use of force, and handling the aftermath of a controversial or clearly excessive use of force by police. 119 references
Main Term(s): Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): Lawful use of force; Police policies and procedures; Police weapons; Police weapons training; Police weapons use; US Supreme Court decisions
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