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NCJ Number: 93605 Find in a Library
Title: Situational Use of Police Force - Public Reactions
Journal: American Journal of Police  Volume:3  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1983)  Pages:37-50
Author(s): J S Williams; C W Thomas; B K Singh
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study found that the public generally favors police use of force only when it is used in self-defense or to maintain custody; black respondents tended to be more restrictive and negative toward the police use of force than were whites.
Abstract: Data for this study were collected by the National Opinion Research Center in 1980 as part of the National Data Program for the Social Sciences. The data were obtained from a national stratified, multistage area probability sample of clustered households in the continental United States (n=1,468). The dependent variable, attitude toward the police use of force, was measured by summing the responses to questions dealing with four situations in which the respondent would approve of a police officer striking an adult male. Each person was asked if he/she would approve of a police officer striking a person (1) if the person was being questioned as a suspect in a murder case, (2) if the person had used vulgar and obscene language in the presence of the officer, (3) if the person was attempting to escape custody, and (4) if the person was attacking the officer with his fists. There was overwhelming support for the use of force by police when a person attempts to escape custody or if the officer is attacked. In the cases of verbal abuse of the police officer or the questioning of a murder suspect, the vast majority of respondents do not approve of police use of force. Tabular data and 31 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Lawful use of force; Police discretion; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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