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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1995

Robert J. Kaminski and David W.M. Sorensen

Uses data on 1,550 nonlethal assaults recorded by Baltimore County Police Department. Examines factors that are associated with the likelihood of officer injury after an…

Abstract

Uses data on 1,550 nonlethal assaults recorded by Baltimore County Police Department. Examines factors that are associated with the likelihood of officer injury after an assault. Notes that factors affecting the probability of assault do not necessarily correspond with the factors that affect the likelihood of injury. Analyzes a broader spectrum of contributory factors than those addressed by other research. Finds inter alia that greater officer proficiency in unarmed defensive tactics may reduce their assault‐related injuries, since most incidents do not involve arms; that in‐service training should be biased toward less experienced officers who are at greater risk; that officer height is a significant variable; that many officers suffer multiple attacks; that domestic disturbances do not rank higher than other dangers, but that this may reflect the possibility that officers anticipate potential violence and take better precautions before attending the scene.

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American Journal of Police, vol. 14 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0735-8547

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2007

Michael R. Smith, Robert J. Kaminski, Jeffrey Rojek, Geoffrey P. Alpert and Jason Mathis

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…

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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.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Tom LaTourrette

Vehicle crashes and being struck by vehicles are the leading causes of death among police. The purpose of this paper is to identify risk factors for injury in police…

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1173

Abstract

Purpose

Vehicle crashes and being struck by vehicles are the leading causes of death among police. The purpose of this paper is to identify risk factors for injury in police officer vehicle crashes in order to help determine the most effective approaches to improve officer vehicle safety.

Design/methodology/approach

The study entailed a cross-sectional survey of officer drivers involved in vehicle crashes from 16 local, county, and state law enforcement agencies across the USA over one year. The relative risk of injury for officers in crashes with a given characteristic relative comparison crashes without that characteristic was computed to determine which characteristics are more likely to be associated with injuries.

Findings

The survey yielded 854 crashes, 90 of which involved injuries to the officer driver. Crash characteristics associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk of injury include multiple vehicle collisions, collision direction, officer vehicle type, officer vehicle being stopped, driving under emergency conditions, conducting traffic control or assisting motorists, not wearing a seat belt, and others. Most findings hold for all crashes and when minor crashes are excluded from the analysis.

Originality/value

This study presents the first quantitative estimates of the risk factors for injury to law enforcement officers in vehicle crashes. Our findings indicate that seat belt use remains a critical safety intervention; driving under emergency conditions is high risk, though the reasons for this are unclear; better practices are needed to protect officers in stationary vehicles; agencies should carefully weigh the benefit of motorcycles against the vastly increased risk of injury they present; and that mobile data terminals are both a major distraction hazard and important source of injuries in crashes.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Scott E. Wolfe, Jeff Rojek, Geoff Alpert, Hope M. Tiesman and Stephen M. James

The purpose of this paper is to examine the situational and individual officer characteristics of officer-involved vehicle collisions that result in fatality, injury, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the situational and individual officer characteristics of officer-involved vehicle collisions that result in fatality, injury, and non-injury outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on 35,840 vehicle collisions involving law enforcement officers in California occurring between January 2000 and December 2009 are examined. A descriptive analysis of collision characteristics is presented.

Findings

There were 39 officers killed by collisions over this study period and 7,684 officers who received some type injury. Incidents involving officers on motorcycles represented 39 percent of officer fatalities and 39 percent of severe injuries. In the case of fatalities, 33 percent of officers were reported as wearing seatbelts, 38 percent were not wearing a seatbelt, and seatbelt use was not stated in 29 percent of car fatalities.

Research limitations/implications

The findings only represent one state and the analysis is based on an estimated 86 percent of collisions that occurred during the study period due to missing data. Nonetheless, the results are based on a robust sample and address key limitations in the existing literature.

Practical implications

During the study period in California the estimated financial impact of collisions reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars when considering related fatality, injury, and vehicle damage costs combined. These impacts highlight the need for the law enforcement community to give greater attention to this issue.

Originality/value

At the time of this writing there was no published independent research that compares the situational and officer characteristics across fatality, injury, and non-injury outcomes in these events. The findings reported here will help inform emerging interest in this issue within the law enforcement, academic, and policy-making communities.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Bruce Taylor, Geoffrey Alpert, Bruce Kubu, Daniel Woods and Roger G. Dunham

Few studies track non‐lethal weapon use by law enforcement agencies (LEAs), the number/level of force used by these agencies, complaints for excessive force, and injuries

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2667

Abstract

Purpose

Few studies track non‐lethal weapon use by law enforcement agencies (LEAs), the number/level of force used by these agencies, complaints for excessive force, and injuries to officers and suspects, both over time (especially recently) and with a national probability‐based sample. This study aims to address these gaps by developing longitudinal estimates to examine these use‐of‐force issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Two surveys of LEAs were conducted (n=518 and n=357 LEAs), covering 2003 to 2008, and statistical weights were used to align the data to be representative of all state and local LEAs in the USA, including adjustments for survey non‐response.

Findings

Conducted energy devices (CED) deployment has risen significantly (to about 70 percent of LEAs). However, standard baton use is down to 25 percent in 2008 and when available to the officer, batons are more likely to be left in their vehicles compared to CEDs. Baton use and empty‐hand tactics are becoming less commonly used by officers, but CED use was ranked among the most used tactics from 2005 to 2008. Excessive force complaints against LEAs, internally generated, have more than doubled from 2003 to 2008. Officer injuries varied little from 2003 to 2008, but they are still only about half as common as suspect injuries. Also, only 20 percent of LEAs collect injury data in a database, complicating future research.

Originality/value

This is one of the few studies to track, nationally, the types of non‐lethal weapons in use by LEAs, and force level used, providing aid to LEA executives and policymakers who need to follow new trends in non‐lethal weapons.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2010

Yu‐Sheng Lin and Tonisha R. Jones

This paper seeks to address a deficit in the criminal justice literature by examining patterns of electronic control device (ECD) use and effectiveness as reflected in…

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1276

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to address a deficit in the criminal justice literature by examining patterns of electronic control device (ECD) use and effectiveness as reflected in 1,188 official police use‐of‐force report records collected over a three‐year period (2005‐2007) by the Washington State Patrol (WSP).

Design/methodology/approach

Chi‐square, t‐test, ANOVA and logistic regression analysis were employed to analyze the data with respect to patterns of use and outcomes for officers and arrestees.

Findings

The findings observed indicate that the ECD tended to replace several other types of force used to gain compliance, tended to resolve incidents involving the use of force with fewer forms of force being used, and decreased officer injury rates. The ECD was rated as generally effective by officers, but not as effective as other methods of gaining compliance in life‐threatening situations. Results concerning suspect injury rates were somewhat mixed.

Research limitations/implications

Relying on the official self‐report from a single agency limits the ability to generalize to other law enforcement agencies.

Practical implications

The paper indicates the importance of providing for the systematic collection of data on police use of force involving the threat of use and deployment of the ECD.

Originality/value

A number of questions concerning ECD's appropriate use, effectiveness, and potential for harm have remained largely unanswered. The paper addresses this deficit in the criminal justice literature.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Kelle Barrick, Kevin J. Strom and Nicholas Richardson

Violence against the police represents an ongoing and serious problem in the USA. In 2014, over 48,000 law enforcement officers assaulted while on duty. Although over one…

Abstract

Purpose

Violence against the police represents an ongoing and serious problem in the USA. In 2014, over 48,000 law enforcement officers assaulted while on duty. Although over one in four of these resulted in injury, little is known about the conditions under which injury is likely to occur. The purpose of this paper is to provide an assessment of the individual and situational factors that predict injurious assaults against law enforcement.

Design/methodology/approach

Using logistic regression, the current study analyzes data from the 2012 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) on all assaults against the police (n=8,987) in order to understand, within a routine activities theoretical framework, how individual-level characteristics (i.e. officer and offender characteristics) and situational influences (i.e. assignment type, activity type, and location) predict the likelihood that an assault will result in injury.

Findings

Overall, findings suggest support for a routine activities theory of violence against the police. Initiating an arrest, one-officer vehicle type, and incidents occurring on highways/roads were all more likely to result in injurious assaults against the police. Other predictors of injury include officer and offender demographics as well as the time the incident took place.

Research limitations/implications

This research was unable to control for some factors that may influence the likelihood of injury such as wearing body armor. Additionally, NIBRS data are not nationally representative, which limits the generalizability of the findings.

Originality/value

This is one of the first papers to use national data to examine the individual and situational factors that predict injurious assaults against law enforcement.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1996

Helen M. Eigenberg, Kathryn E. Scarborough and Victor E. Kappeler

Provides empirical evidence for the first time to suggest that police officers are less apt to arrest in domestic violence cases when directly comparing officers

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1359

Abstract

Provides empirical evidence for the first time to suggest that police officers are less apt to arrest in domestic violence cases when directly comparing officers’ responses in domestic and non‐domestic assaults. Uses a sample of 92,000 police reports in a small midwestern police department of the USA. Supports the premise of disparate treatment for domestic assaults. Finds that injuries were equally likely in domestic and non‐domestic assaults; that the impact of weapons is limited. Calls for further research to clarify these issues, e.g., to re‐examine officers’definitions of injuries and weapons. Supports findings that officers are more apt to arrest when a victim requests this.

Details

American Journal of Police, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0735-8547

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Thomas M. Rice, Lara Troszak and Bryon G. Gustafson

Concerns about the risk of traffic collision injury to both police officers and bystanders are increasing as the use of in-vehicle technologies becoming widespread among…

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903

Abstract

Purpose

Concerns about the risk of traffic collision injury to both police officers and bystanders are increasing as the use of in-vehicle technologies becoming widespread among agencies. This study used national and California data to characterize traffic collisions in which a police vehicle was involved. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a California traffic collision database to retrospectively identify collisions that involved police vehicles for years 2007-2010. The authors summarized collision characteristics with descriptive methods and used log-binomial regression to estimate associations between personal and collision characteristics with officer culpability.

Findings

The authors identified 5,233 traffic collisions in California. In total, 10 percent of law enforcement vehicles were motorcycles. In all, 9 percent of cruisers struck a pedestrian or bicyclist, compared with only 2 percent of motorcycles. Compared with officers aged 50 or older, officers in younger age categories were progressively much more likely to have been culpable. Motorcycle officers were 33 percent less likely to be culpable for their collision involvements. Approximately 100 fatal collisions involving a law enforcement vehicle occur each year in the USA.

Originality/value

The findings from this study indicate that approximately 1,300 injury-producing traffic collisions occur each year in California that involve a law enforcement vehicle. The authors found that younger age, female sex, cruiser operation, traveling unbelted, and single-vehicle collision involvement were positively associated with officer culpability. Officer race and community population were not significantly associated with culpability. The occurrence of fatal collisions in the USA was stable over a 12-year period.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 23 April 2013

Christine Teague, David Leith and Lelia Green

This chapter uses symbolic interactionism as a theoretical framework for considering data produced during two in-depth ethnographic investigations: one at Orco, a minerals…

Abstract

This chapter uses symbolic interactionism as a theoretical framework for considering data produced during two in-depth ethnographic investigations: one at Orco, a minerals processing facility; the other at RTE, the Rail Transport Executive of an urban region in Australia. It discusses the value of symbolic interactionism in revealing the detailed importance of interaction between managers and workers and, particularly, within specific workgroups. It argues that regular, repeated and intense interaction such as characterizes daily work in high-pressure occupations helps establish subcultures. It is then comparatively easy for a subculture group to develop its own values and meanings in opposition to those promulgated by management. The two case studies differ significantly around the organizational value placed on investigating injuries and accidents. In the Orco workplace, injury statistics are clearly communicated and workers believe that the “zero injury workplace” is a management priority. In the RTE, transit officer injuries are kept confidential and workers believe that a major purpose of investigations is to show how individual workers are at fault. In both cases, however, the work group has developed an informal safety culture at odds with that promoted by managers.The conclusion drawn by the end of the chapter is that managers seeking to influence the safety cultures of workers in dangerous and fraught occupations should pay close attention to the ways in which those workers operate at a symbolic distance from management. They should engage with the workers to understand the symbolic value placed by frontline staff upon the meanings attributed to safe work practices, and should collaborate together to develop a shared safety culture in which workers are protected by active management engagement in their symbolic reality. Where this occurs, workers’ perspectives are appreciated at the same time as their practices become more regulated and aligned with managerial wishes. Symbolic interactionism offers a rich perspective that takes into account the dynamism of changing circumstances and that works outwards from the thought processes of individuals through to interactions across entire organizations.

Details

40th Anniversary of Studies in Symbolic Interaction
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-783-2

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