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Through observational studies of police work

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Through observational studies of police work, examination of police use-of-force reports, citizen complaint reports, and from police/citizen surveys, it has become clear that police officers today rarely apply physical force other PDF GENERATED BY SEARCH.PROQUEST.COM Page 1 of 18
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than handcuffing ([4] Alpert and Dunham, 2004; [5] Bazley et al. , 2007; [9] Dunham and Alpert, 1995; [11] Garner and Maxwell, 1999; [20] Klinger, 1995; [25] National Institute of Justice, 1999; [38] Sykes and Brent, 1983). Judgments to use force, and decisions concerning the extent of force to be used, are within the discretion of law enforcement officers. Thus, an individual officer must decide in each situation whether to ignore, or to confront and attempt to persuade or coerce a citizen to follow his/her direction. Discretionary decisions regarding when, where, and how much force to use is a cumulative process ([16] Goldstein, 1977); once a course of action is decided upon, additional discretionary choices follow that may lead an officer to either increase or decrease the level of force used. Research in the areas of use of force, and subsequent suspect injuries, has most often focused on the type of force used by the police officer and the suspect, excessive force, and officer misconduct. This current study followed a more recent approach to research in this area and examined situations that law enforcement officers used force, and the actions taken by them and citizens during the encounter. These confrontations were then decomposed at the event level into a series of iterations consisting of officer actions and reactions, and suspect actions and reactions. This study has foundation in the prior work by [41] Terrill (2005; see also [42] Terrill et al. , 2003) and [4] Alpert and Dunham (2004), who examined the force factor in numerous agencies. The current study builds on the prior concept of a "force factor" by examining 4,303 police use of force reports from the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Office in the ongoing attempt by researchers to better understand law enforcement response to suspect resistance. The data obtained in this current study allowed the researchers to create a sequence of iterations within each incident, breaking each police-suspect encounter down to successive suspect and police behaviors. These iterations are examined by breaking each reported action and reaction of the event into the concept of a force continuum ([4] Alpert and Dunham, 2004; [14] Garner et al. , 1995; [36] Stetser, 2001; [41] Terrill, 2005). Following in the footsteps of research by [41] Terrill (2005), the current study uses a standardized use force continuum to determine the level of force utilized by officers in reported encounters. Literature review Law enforcement officers are legally justified and sometimes obligated to utilize force in situations to bring people to justice, protect others, and for personal defense ([27] Patrick and Hall, 2005); the fact that citizens must submit to the legal application of force is a price paid for living in a regulated society ([36] Stetser, 2001). [6] Bittner (1970)
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