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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76358 Find in a Library
Title: Police Use of Deadly Force
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:49  Issue:8  Dated:(August 1980)  Pages:16-21
Author(s): J Q Wilson
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines several studies which explore the relationships between police use of deadly force and departmental shooting policies and the relationship between police shooting and the characteristics of civilian victims.
Abstract: While many community groups and minority organizations believe police killings of civilians are excessive and often unjustifiable, many police agencies are apprehensive and angry about unprovoked fatal assaults on patrol officers. Catherine Milton's study of police killing in seven cities found that most of the civilian victims were young black males, that the victim was armed in about half the cases, and that the most common circumstance surrounding a shooting was a crime in progress. The fact that blacks and other minorities are so frequently the victims of police shootings has provoked much controversy. Dr. James Fyfe's study of 3,000 police shooting incidents in New York City during 1971-1975 found a high correlation between the total homicide rate of an area and the rate of police shootings. However, Fyfe also found that in high crime precincts, the rate at which white, black, and Hispanic officers shoot at civilians is virtually identical. These and other studies which examine the relationship between police department shooting policies and incidences of police shooting suggest that police departments with more restrictive shooting policies have less frequent incidences of firearm discharges while maintaining virtually the same arrest rates. In view of these studies, the development and implementation of a reasonable shooting policy ought to be a high priority matter with police administrators. Such a policy should be codified into a single easily understood document, be made the basis of trainig programs, and should be linked to both an internal and external review process. One table and 15 references are included.
Index Term(s): Lawful use of force; Police use of deadly force; Police weapons use; Professional misconduct
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