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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83543 Find in a Library
Title: Summary of Research on the Police Use of Deadly Force
Author(s): C G Sulton; P Cooper
Corporate Author: Police Foundation
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 42
Sponsoring Agency: Police Foundation
Washington, DC 20036
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The article summarizes several leading studies of the police use of deadly force, concentrating on general trend data and analyses of single-city, multiple-city, and State data. It discusses common elements in the studies, particularly the significance of several generally recognized variables thought to characterize or explain police use of deadly force.
Abstract: The studies concur that the number of civilian deaths by police intervention is increasing and that the death rates for blacks and Hispanics remain disproportionate to their numbers in the general population. They generally acknowledge that most police shootings of civilians occur in urban ghetto areas, at night, and involve white, onduty patrol officers and minority male civilians between the ages of 19 and 29 years. However, Fyfe and Uelmen seem to believe that the dangerousness of police work explains the increased number of civilian deaths, whereas Takagi and Robin question the assumption of danger in police work. These last researchers note that the fatality rate for police officers is lower than the rates for miners and construction workers. Fyfe argues that more blacks and Hispanics involved in shooting incidents with police were armed and/or participating in robberies and, therefore, presented the greatest danger to police. An interesting finding in several of the studies indicates that between 17 and 20 percent of the officers involved in civilian shootings were off duty at the time of the incident. Also, black and Hispanic police officers had higher rates of involvement in shootings than did white officers, although blacks were involved in a significantly lower number. Generally, the studies found that little or no legal action has been taken against police shootings but that restrictive policies and strong enforcement can reduce the incidence of police shootings. A few tables and about 25 references (with brief descriptions) are included.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Hispanic Americans; Police internal investigations; Police management; Police use of deadly force; Trend analysis
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