Police Use of Force Escalation and De-escalation: The Use of Systematic Social Observation With Video Footage

William Terrill, Laura Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As police agencies continue to incorporate body-worn cameras, it becomes increasingly important for researchers and practitioners to explore how to best use these data to better understand patterns of suspect and police behavior. Thus, drawing on a joint project between the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers and Arizona State University, we expand on prior research demonstrating how social systematic observation (SSO) can be used with video footage to methodically detail the evolving nature of police-suspect encounters. We then illustrate how the data could be evaluated within the framework of escalation and de-escalation using an expanded version of the Resistance Force Comparative Scale (RFCS) first developed and employed in 2001. Finally, we assess the merits and challenges of using video footage to account for suspect and police behaviors in relation to escalation and de-escalation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPolice Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • body-worn cameras
  • de-escalation dashcam
  • escalation
  • police
  • systematic social observation
  • use of force
  • videos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law

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