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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Michael D. White

Prior research on the police decision to use deadly force has tended to neglect multivariate relationships, particularly at the situational level. This paper makes use of…

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Abstract

Prior research on the police decision to use deadly force has tended to neglect multivariate relationships, particularly at the situational level. This paper makes use of data describing deadly force incidents in Philadelphia during two time periods (1970‐1978 and 1987‐1992) and employs multivariate analyses to identify situational predictors of police shootings involving gun‐assaultive suspects. Findings from the multivariate analyses are then used in a pilot effort to develop predictive risk classifications of deadly force incidents. Identification of predictors of deadly force is helpful not only in assessing the relative contributions of situational variables but also in shaping our understanding of the behavior of line officers who are forced, by the nature of their work, to make split‐second decisions involving life and liberty with minimal guidance and support from the police department.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Lois James, Stephen James and Bryan Vila

Policing faces several critical problems, the most immediate of which are arguably public perceptions of racial bias, and widely prevalent officer fatigue related to shift…

Abstract

Purpose

Policing faces several critical problems, the most immediate of which are arguably public perceptions of racial bias, and widely prevalent officer fatigue related to shift work and long work hours. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the “reverse racism effect” still occurred when officers were extremely fatigued.

Design/methodology/approach

Controlled laboratory experiments were conducted during which experienced police patrol officers responded to black and white suspects in deadly force judgment and decision-making simulations on two occasions; once immediately following the last of five consecutive 10:40 hours patrol shifts (fatigued condition) and again 72 hours after completing the last shift in a cycle (rested condition).

Findings

Contrary to expectations, the authors found that officer fatigue did not significantly affect shooting behavior. Furthermore, the authors did not find a significant interaction between officer fatigue and suspect race on either reaction time to shoot or the likelihood of shooting an unarmed suspect. Thus, the reverse racism effect was observed both when officers were rested and fatigued.

Research limitations/implications

As policing agencies around the country respond to allegations of racial bias, both the public and police search for empirical evidence about whether negative perceptions are accurate about officers’ motivations in deadly encounters. The research reported here provides insight about how fatigue effects officers’ decisions to shoot black vs white suspects, and directly addresses this high profile and divisive national issue.

Originality/value

This is the first valid experimental test of the impact of fatigue on officer shooting behavior, and the interaction between police fatigue and suspect race on decisions to shoot.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 October 2018

Christopher M. Donner and Nicole Popovich

The purpose of this paper is to examine police shooting accuracy and the factors that influence whether officers hit, or miss, their intended target.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine police shooting accuracy and the factors that influence whether officers hit, or miss, their intended target.

Design/methodology/approach

Descriptive statistics explore both incident-level and hit rate shooting accuracy in single officer/single suspect shooting incidents in the Dallas Police Department between 2003 and 2017. Multiple regression models analyze the predictive utility of officer, suspect and situational factors on the two accuracy outcomes.

Findings

Consistent with prior research, the results demonstrate that officers are often inaccurate in officer-involved shooting (OIS) incidents. Additionally, several factors emerged as significant predictors of shooting accuracy.

Practical implications

The results are discussed in terms of the practical implications for training and accountability.

Originality/value

It has been more than a decade since the last academic study investigated this important topic using actual OIS data. Acknowledging the general dearth of this literature, this study explores what factors contribute to shooting accuracy.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 December 2021

Dae-Young Kim, Scott W. Phillips and Stephen A. Bishopp

The present study examines a range of police force on the continuum (firearms, TASER/chemical spray and physical force) to see whether they are associated with individual…

Abstract

Purpose

The present study examines a range of police force on the continuum (firearms, TASER/chemical spray and physical force) to see whether they are associated with individual (subject and officer), situational and/or neighborhood factors.

Design/methodology/approach

A partial proportional odds model is used to analyze police use of force data from 2003 to 2016 in Dallas. Independent variables are allowed for varying effects across the different cumulative dichotomizations of the dependent variable (firearms vs TASER/chemical spray and physical force and firearms and TASER/chemical spray vs physical force).

Findings

Most officer demographic and situational factors are consistently significant across the cumulative dichotomizations of police force. In addition, suspect race/ethnicity (Hispanic) and violent crime rates play significant roles when officers make decisions to use firearms, as opposed to TASER/chemical spray and physical force. Overall, situational variables (subject gun possession and contact types) play greater roles than other variables in affecting police use of force.

Originality/value

Despite the large body of police use of force research, little to no research has used the partial proportional odds model to examine the ordinal nature of police force from physical to intermediate to deadly force. The current findings can provide important implications for policy and research.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2020

Bryce Jenkins, Tori Semple and Craig Bennell

There has been an increasing emphasis on developing officers who can effectively make decisions in dynamic and stressful environments to manage volatile situations. The…

Abstract

Purpose

There has been an increasing emphasis on developing officers who can effectively make decisions in dynamic and stressful environments to manage volatile situations. The aim of this paper is to guide those seeking to optimize the limited resources dedicated to police training.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on research related to stress exposure training, principles of adult learning, the event-based approach to training and policing more broadly, the authors show how carefully crafted training scenarios can maximize the benefits of police training.

Findings

The authors’ review highlights various training principles that, if relied on, can result in scenarios that are likely to result in the development of flexible, sound decision-making skills when operating under stressful conditions. The paper concludes with an example of scenario development, which takes the reviewed principles into account.

Originality/value

The authors hope this discussion will be useful for police instructors and curriculum designers in making evidence-informed decisions when designing training scenarios.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 February 2018

Lois James, Stephen James and Bryan Vila

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether citizen characteristics (race/ethnicity and attire) or demeanor predicted how officers interacted in simulation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether citizen characteristics (race/ethnicity and attire) or demeanor predicted how officers interacted in simulation scenarios that could turn violent.

Design/methodology/approach

Controlled-laboratory experiments were conducted during which police participants (n=50) responded to equivalent numbers of black, white, and Hispanic individuals in multiple branching video scenarios in a use-of-force simulator. Within these scenarios, the attire of on-screen individuals was varied (“street” or “business” clothing) as was their demeanor – individuals were either friendly or confrontational. Each scenario had the potential to end peaceably or turn violent, depending on how the officers treated people in the simulator.

Findings

Multi-level modeling revealed that neither the race/ethnicity nor the attire of on-screen individuals predicted how officers interacted with them. However, the demeanor of on-screen individuals did – officers were significantly more likely to verbally escalate and end up with a deadly outcome when faced with confrontational individuals (f=3.96; df=1, 558; p<0.05).

Research limitations/implications

These findings offer important new insight into how fairly officers interact with people during routine encounters that have the potential to turn violent, and what this means for perceptions of police legitimacy, procedural justice, and allegations of racial bias.

Originality/value

This is the first laboratory study to test the impact of citizen characteristics and demeanor on how officers escalate and de-escalate encounters.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 May 2022

Sean Patrick Roche, Danielle M. Fenimore and Paul Taylor

American police agencies' swift adoption of body-worn camera (BWC) technology, coupled with the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, has led to a “new visibility” of…

Abstract

Purpose

American police agencies' swift adoption of body-worn camera (BWC) technology, coupled with the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, has led to a “new visibility” of policing. Video recordings are often touted as objective evidentiary accounts of police-civilian interactions. Yet even these recordings are rarely seen in a vacuum, but instead accompanied by headlines and accounts.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a diverse sample of young American adults (N = 943) and an experimental design incorporating a short poorly recorded BWC video embedded within a survey, this study investigates perceptions of the appropriateness of police behavior in an ambiguous situation where officers used deadly force on a Black civilian. All respondents viewed the same video, but were randomly assigned to one of four ultimate outcomes.

Findings

Respondents overwhelmingly reported the BWC video was personally important and significant for a subsequent investigation and public opinion. The experimental manipulation, along with background factors, exerted a substantial effect on perceptions of the officers' actions. Respondents found the officers' actions more appropriate when told the civilian held a weapon.

Originality/value

Americans are divided on the role of police in a democratic society. Objective accounts like video recordings may be used to build consensus, but our results, derived from a novel method and dataset, suggest deeper cognitive biases must also be overcome.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 January 2020

Katelyn K. Jetelina, Stephen A. Bishopp, Jared G. Wiegand and Jennifer M. Reingle Gonzalez

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate officer and civilian race/ethnicity disparities during ten years of officer-involved shootings (OIS).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate officer and civilian race/ethnicity disparities during ten years of officer-involved shootings (OIS).

Design/methodology/approach

Internal affairs, personnel and geospatial data were triangulated for 253 OIS at the Dallas Police Department from 2005 to 2015. Multinomial regression models were used to evaluate the relationship between civilian and officer race/ethnicity in OIS, controlling for officer, situational and neighborhood factors.

Findings

In total, 48 percent of unique OIS involved a non-Hispanic black civilian and most OIS occurred in Hispanic majority neighborhoods (48 percent). Officer age and number of shooters on scene were the only variables significantly associated with officer race/ethnicity. Most notably, officer race/ethnicity was not associated with the race/ethnicity of the civilian during OIS incidents.

Originality/value

There is limited scientific evidence on whether officers of certain races/ethnicities are disproportionately likely to engage in OIS with civilians of a particular race/ethnicity due to the relative rarity of such events.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2012

Li Jianbiao, Liu Guilin and Ju Long

The purpose of this paper is to better depict the features of individual and group behaviors in sequential decisions under the effect of public belief drift.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better depict the features of individual and group behaviors in sequential decisions under the effect of public belief drift.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors design a two‐shots game which is closer to decisions condition in the real market by using the method of experimental economics two shots game.

Findings

The experimental results show that information cascade occurs more frequently in the second stage and the decision accuracy is decreased. The conclusion may provide experimental evidence for the “Animal Spirits Theory” of Keynes. Additionally, decision‐maker ranking in the middle of the decision sequence systematically deviates from his/her private information in balance state.

Originality/value

As existing information cascade theory of one shot decision fails to describe the belief‐dependent mechanism, the authors design the multi‐shots information cascade experiment; in which every individual decision maker has more than one sequential decision chance on the same event.

Details

Nankai Business Review International, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8749

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 July 2021

Zavin Nazaretian, Cedrick Heraux and David Merolla

The purpose of this research is to compare the fatality rate of Black and White subjects shot by police. This comparison is meant to explore whether officer-involved…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to compare the fatality rate of Black and White subjects shot by police. This comparison is meant to explore whether officer-involved shootings (OIS) are impacted more by perceived threat or by demographic characteristics. Beyond race, contextual and officer-level variables are examined for their influence on lethal vs non-lethal police shootings.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilizes data from the Tampa Bay Times database on police shootings in Florida from 2009 through 2014. Our analysis focuses on the substantive importance of this issue, using the population of OIS in one specific state over a specified time period. The authors also including multinomial logistic regression models analyzing the impact of race, contextual and officer-level variables on the lethal outcome of OIS is clear that the police are shooting at two very different populations.

Findings

Although Black subjects are disproportionately represented as the subjects of OIS, there was no significant difference in the lethality of such incidents based simply on race. However, when we compare Black subjects to White subjects, it is clear that the police are shooting at two very different populations. Black subjects were younger, less likely to be armed, less likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and less likely to have suspected or known mental health considerations than their White counterparts.

Research limitations/implications

Thus, it is possible that any racialized difference in the lethality of police shootings is being suppressed because we are comparing very different groups of subjects to one another.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to examine the racial threat that officers experience past the decision to engage in violence. The authors are looking at how they shoot at minorities vs the decision to shoot at minorities.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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