A national study of sustained use of force complaints in law enforcement agencies
Use of force
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CitationPryor, C., Boman IV, J. H., Mowen, T. J., & McCamman, M. (2019). A national study of sustained use of force complaints in law enforcement agencies. Journal of Criminal Justice, 64, 101623.
JournalJOURNAL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
RightsCopyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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AbstractPurpose: This article examines how community and departmental characteristics relate to the number of sustained use of force complaints in a law enforcement agency. Methods: Using national-level data from Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics 2007, Uniform Crime Reports 2007, American Community Survey 2009 and bivariate and multivariate techniques, we investigate whether sustained uses of force vary across 1) community and regional characteristics in the U.S. and across departmental 2) policies, 3) training tendencies, and 4) hiring practices. Results: Controlling for region, crime rate, and area median income, results demonstrate that sustained complaints increase when departments serve large, nonwhite populations. Regarding departmental policies, results are alarming: Departments with independent civilian complaint review boards, agencies which engage in community policing, and departments that implement personality tests when hiring sustain significantly higher numbers of use of force complaints. However, departments that screen for volunteer and community service histories in officer candidates have over one third fewer sustained complaints than departments that do not use this hiring screen. Conclusions: In order to significantly reduce the amount of sustained complaints against a department, results suggest that agencies should assess community service and volunteer histories for potential officer candidates.
Note24 month embargo; published online: 27 July 2019
VersionFinal accepted manuscript
SponsorsCenter for Family and Demographic Research, Bowling Green State University; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentUnited States Department of Health & Human ServicesNational Institutes of Health (NIH) - USANIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) [P2CHD050959]