Police Use of Less Lethal Force

Does Administrative Policy Matter?

William Terrill, Eugene A. Paoline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Scholars have long theorized that constraining police officer discretion via organizational policy improves decision-making. Empirically, prior research shows that more restrictive lethal force policies result in a reduction in the number of police shootings and in racial disparity. Yet, researchers have never examined the impact of less lethal force policies in relation to the full spectrum of less lethal force tactics. In addressing this research void, we examine 3,340 use of force incidents from three US agencies, each varying in terms of policy direction and restrictiveness. The results consistently show that officers working within the most restrictive policy framework used force less readily than officers who operated within more permissive policy environments. Hence, police administrators wishing to reduce coercion should consider the potential effect that a more restrictive policy may have on such behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJustice Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 4 2016

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administrative policy
Police
police
police officer
tactics
incident
decision making
Organizational Policy
Coercion
Administrative Personnel
Research
Decision Making
Research Personnel

Keywords

  • continuum
  • discretion
  • police
  • policy
  • use of force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Cite this

Police Use of Less Lethal Force : Does Administrative Policy Matter? / Terrill, William; Paoline, Eugene A.

In: Justice Quarterly, 04.03.2016, p. 1-24.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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