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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Michael R. Smith, Jeff J. Rojek, Matthew Petrocelli and Brian Withrow

The purpose of this paper is to provide a contemporary review of the research on racial disparities in police decision making.

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1043

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a contemporary review of the research on racial disparities in police decision making.

Design/methodology/approach

State of the art literature review.

Findings

The findings are mixed on racial disparities in the primary policing domains of stops, arrests, use of force, and neighborhood deployment. While minorities are often overrepresented among those subjected to police enforcement actions, these findings vary considerably. Almost all of the current studies that have reported racial disparities in the exercise of police authority lack the methodological rigor or statistical precision to draw cause and effect inferences.

Research limitations/implications

Efforts underway to document the impact of body-worn cameras on citizen complaints and force used by police could be extended to examine the impact of cameras on racial disparities in other enforcement-related outcomes such as arrests, stops and frisks, or searches. In addition, evaluating the effects of police training, such as anti-bias training or training on police legitimacy, on reducing racial disparities in police enforcement outcomes is another promising line of research inquiry.

Originality/value

This paper provides a concise review of the current state of the literature on a topic that is dominating the national conversation currently underway about the role of the police in American society.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 14 May 2003

Jonathan L Gifford

Abstract

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Flexible Urban Transportation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-08-050656-2

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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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1820

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: 1 September 1999

Michael R. Smith

Focuses on the approach to interpreting earnings equality found in the writings of a variety of economists and in particular, technological change and its effects on the…

Abstract

Focuses on the approach to interpreting earnings equality found in the writings of a variety of economists and in particular, technological change and its effects on the demand skill resulting in earning inequality. Argues that the evidence in favour of the technological effect is weak and presents some alternatives for further consideration.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 19 no. 9/10/11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 May 2014

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641

Abstract

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2000

Michael R. Smith and Geoffrey P. Alpert

Explores the debate over the safety and efficacy of police use of force tactics in general, and pepper spray in particular. Introduces the force continua, checklists…

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1205

Abstract

Explores the debate over the safety and efficacy of police use of force tactics in general, and pepper spray in particular. Introduces the force continua, checklists employed by US police forces to prescribe levels of force to be used in particular situations. Reviews the literature, discusses two recent studies and the legal and ethical issues involved. Suggests further research in less‐than‐lethal weapons.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2007

Michael R. Smith, Matthew Petrocelli and Charlie Scheer

The purpose of this paper is to help inform the ongoing policy and training debates over use of the Taser and its proper role in the use of force continuum.

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3471

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to help inform the ongoing policy and training debates over use of the Taser and its proper role in the use of force continuum.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper qualitatively analyzes all reported court decisions (n=53 as of January 31, 2007) in which a Taser was used by a law enforcement officer.

Findings

The majority of reported cases have resulted in the dismissal of claims against officers and municipalities for alleged Taser‐related excessive force violations. In most cases, plaintiffs were unable to show the existence of an unconstitutional policy or custom to support municipal liability. As for the liability of individual officers, most cases were decided in the officer's favor on summary judgment, particularly when the suspect was exhibiting physical resistance. In a few cases, summary judgment was denied to officers when the plaintiff alleged that he or she was fully compliant when the Tasering occurred.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis was confined to reported court decisions, which do not necessarily represent a random sample of all Taser‐related lawsuits filed in the courts. Likewise, Taser‐related lawsuits appear to be increasing as the use of the Taser proliferates among law‐enforcement agencies. Thus, the trends and patterns in Taser liability identified in the analysis may change and evolve with newly decided cases.

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that agencies should review their policy and training guidelines on Taser usage to remain compliant with emerging legal standards. Officers should be trained to articulate a physical threat or potential threat before using a Taser against a verbally resistant subject.

Originality/value

Civil liability is always of concern to law enforcement officials, particularly when an emerging technology is involved. At the time of this writing, there were no published analyses of Taser‐related excessive force claims.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Michael R. Smith and Rhys Hester

The purpose of this paper is to analyze an important new US Supreme Court decision on automobile searches, Arizona v. Gant, and to discuss its implications for police…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze an important new US Supreme Court decision on automobile searches, Arizona v. Gant, and to discuss its implications for police policy and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Using legal analysis and comparative methods, the paper illustrates how Gant changed settled case law on searches of automobiles incident to arrest, while at the same time leaving important questions unanswered in its wake.

Findings

In Arizona v. Gant (2009), the US Supreme Court held that police may search a motor vehicle incident to arrest, only if the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the vehicle when the search takes place, or when it is reasonable to believe that officers may find evidence in the vehicle related to the offense for which the arrest was made. This new rule places limitations on police who previously had broad authority to search the passenger compartment of a vehicle whenever the driver or a recent occupant was arrested.

Practical implications

In the wake of Gant, police must adapt their search policies and practices to reflect the new Gant restrictions. Officers should resist the temptation to leave arrestees unsecured while searching a vehicle. At the same time, the seizure of vehicles and subsequent use of inventory searches following an arrest likely will increase.

Originality/value

Police scholars and policy makers will find the analysis of Gant useful in illuminating the legal issues left unresolved by the decision, and the decision's implications for policy and practice.

Details

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

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 August 2001

Julia Gelfand

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198

Abstract

Details

Library Hi Tech News, vol. 18 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0741-9058

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Abstract

Details

Flexible Urban Transportation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-08-050656-2

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