ProQuestDocuments-2018-10-24 (2).pdf

Understanding use of force and less than lethal force

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Understanding use of force and less-than-lethal force The objective reasonableness constitutional legal standard allows law enforcement to have varying tactics and weapons to control behavior and to make arrests; each of which may have varying levels of effectiveness. Studies on the police use of force have focused not only on the success of a particular force application by the police ([20] Klinger, 1995), but also on the potential for suspect and officer injuries ([35] Smith and Petrocelli, 2002; [34] Smith et al. , 2007). While many studies of police use of force include only the use of weapons as a measurement of force, others include weaponless tactics and verbal threats in their analysis ([13] Garner et al. , 2002). [23] Meyer (1992) examined not only the effectiveness of police tactics and weapons, but also the likelihood of injuries. He determined that a tactic or weapon was effective if it ended the altercation. Meyer concluded that the expanded use of non-lethal weapons could result in fewer injuries to suspects and police officers ([23] Meyer, 1992; see also [35] Smith and Petrocelli, 2002). [2] Alpert and Dunham (1999) reported that most police and suspect injuries in altercations are relatively minor. However, they reported that it was "clear that officers and suspects are most at risk for injury during relatively low- level encounters where officers use hands, arms, and legs to control suspects" (p. V-4). Of particular importance in this review was the finding that suspects were most likely to suffer injury when officers used physical force to control a suspect or when they struck a suspect with their fists, and that officer injury is more likely to occur when the officer uses less force relative to the suspect's resistance level. Several researchers have used these variations in force within altercations to develop measurement techniques to understand these encounters. [2] Alpert and Dunham (1999) created a "force factor" approach to measuring the police/subject encounter by focusing on the relative amount of force applied by the police as compared to the suspect's amount of resistance. Force factor scores are derived by subtracting the highest level of suspect resistance from the highest level of police force. [40] Terrill (2003; see also [41] Terrill, 2005) expanded the use of force factors by computing not only the highest level of resistance and force within each incident, but all incidences of subject resistance and police force observed within an encounter. This current research builds on both of these prior studies utilizing an overall cumulative force factor by integrating the concept of a force continuum and [2], [4] Alpert and Dunham's (1999, 2004) force factor with the transactional nature of suspect resistance and officer force during an encounter. This cumulative force factor, detailed further below, serves to further describe and explore event-level use of force encounters between law enforcement officers and suspects.
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