Listen to me! police officers’ views of appropriate use of force

Eugene A. Paoline, William Terrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Police use of force research has concentrated heavily on officer behavior. Much of what is known from the attitudinal side has tended to focus on officers’ views of excessive force. We currently lack a clear understanding of officers’ beliefs regarding the everyday application of less lethal force. Utilizing survey data collected as part of a national multi-agency use of force project, the current study addresses this empirical void by allowing patrol officers to choose, irrespective of their departmental guidelines, what they believe to be appropriate forms of force in dealing with different levels of non-compliance. Somewhat surprisingly, the findings reveal a natural progression in terms of a use of force continuum, whereby patrol officers are rather conservative in their force options relative to citizen resistance. Based on the survey responses, a model is constructed that depicts an officer-based use of force continuum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-189
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Crime and Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Chemical sprays
  • Conducted energy devices
  • Officer attitudes
  • Police
  • Use of force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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