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Final Report: Developing A Common Metric For Evaluating Police Performance In Deadly Force Situations

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2012
178 pages
This project developed measurement scales that improve the assessment of police officer performance in deadly force encounters, which will facilitate better evaluations of the impact of police management and training practices and make assessments of such events more just and reasonable.
The deadly force judgment and decisionmaking metrics (DFJDM) developed can be used to compare officer performance across different deadly force situations. These metrics achieve three key objectives in assessing police performance in deadly force situations. First, the metrics provide criteria that facilitate a consistent measurement of performance that veteran police trainers and policymakers agree are most important. Second, the metrics control for the relative difficulty of the highly variable social encounters in which officer judgments about the use of force occur. Third, the measurements enable the use of more powerful statistical techniques in understanding officer performance under the specific conditions of a deadly force encounter. This report advises, however, that despite the improvements gained from the developed metrics, outcomes from police actions in complex social encounters, such as those that involve violence or threats of violence, are inherently problematic. Both the complexity of each encounter and an officer's experience in managing diverse encounters will factor into the officer's perceptions and decision as to whether and how to use deadly force against another person in a given situation. The metrics were developed through the statistical analysis of scoring by use-of-force trainers regarding 111 statements related to the difficulty of deadly encounters by officers, as well as 105 statements related to officer performance within a deadly encounter. Pilot testing determined that the metrics can be used to score data from experiments using deadly force judgment and decisionmaking simulators, as well as data from field training experiments that evaluate officer performance using role play. 5 figures, 1 table, 117 references, and appended project instruments and metrics

Date Published: August 1, 2012