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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98027 Find in a Library
Title: Police Homicides by Misidentity
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:54  Issue:3  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:22-25
Author(s): I J Vasquez
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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Box 6000
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United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses identification procedures that may be used to help avert situations in which a nonuniformed officer could be accidentally shot by a fellow officer.
Abstract: Officers have been seriously injured or killed by fellow officers as a result of misidentity. In New York City, for example, there were 10 armed confrontations between police officers from 1970 to 1972. In 1973, three such confrontations resulted in the deaths of two officers. Today law enforcement agencies use a variety of identification techniques and procedures, including lightweight vests, baseball-type caps, and lapel pins. To measure the feasibility of establishing identification procedures at the agency or departmental level, a survey was initiated by the Institutional Research and Development Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., in 1982. A preliminary questionnaire was administered to 500 students at the Academy; the data it generated were used to develop a questionnaire which was administered to 710 law enforcement officers at the Academy. Almost half indicated that their agencies had no identification procedures whatsoever. The remaining agencies were almost equally divided into those using certain methods routinely and those using some procedures only for special events, such as planned raids. Respondents also rated the 'workability' of 14 identification methods; none received extremely high ratings. However, the display of badges, use of verbal commands, and wearing of lightweight jackets received the highest ratings. Law enforcement agencies should review their procedures to ensure their officers' safety in the streets. Two figures and nine notes are included.
Index Term(s): Homicide; Plain clothes operations; Police intelligence operations; Police use of deadly force; Questionnaires
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