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The impact of conducted energy devices and other types of force and resistance on officer and suspect injuries

Michael R. Smith (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Robert J. Kaminski (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Jeffrey Rojek (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Geoffrey P. Alpert (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Jason Mathis (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 28 August 2007

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of police use of conducted energy devices (CEDs) on officer and suspect injuries while controlling for other types of force and resistance and other factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on 1,645 use‐of‐force incidents occurring between January 1, 2002 and July 2006 were obtained from two different law enforcement agencies. Logistic and generalized ordered logistic regressions are used to model the odds of injury and severity of injury.

Findings

The use of CEDs was associated with reduced odds of officer and suspect injury and the severity of suspect injury in one agency. In the other agency CED use was unrelated to the odds of injury; however, the use of pepper spray was associated with reduced odds of suspect injury. Among other findings, in both agencies the use of hands‐on tactics by police was associated with increased odds of officer and suspect injury, while the use of canines was associated with increased odds of suspect injury.

Research limitations/implications

Although this research was carried out in two distinctly different law enforcement agencies with different histories of CED adoption, the fact that CED use was associated with reductions in injuries in one agency but not the other indicates the need for additional research on the impact of CED use in other settings

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that relative to other forms of force, the use of CEDs and pepper spray can reduce the risk of injury to both suspects and law enforcement officers. This information should prove useful to law enforcement agencies considering adopting CEDs and suggests that agencies should consider the use of these less lethal alternatives in place of hands‐on tactics against actively resistant suspects.

Originality/value

At the time of this writing there was no published independent research on the risks of injury associated with CED use in field settings. The findings reported herein will help inform the public debate on the utility of CEDs for law enforcement.

Keywords

Citation

Smith, M.R., Kaminski, R.J., Rojek, J., Alpert, G.P. and Mathis, J. (2007), "The impact of conducted energy devices and other types of force and resistance on officer and suspect injuries", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 423-446. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639510710778822

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited