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Officers' and Community Members' Evaluations of Police-Civilian Interactions

NCJ Number
Date Published
110 pages

This study gathers and analyzes officers’ and community members’ evaluations of police-civilian interactions.


The purpose of this research was to determine whether civilian characteristics such as race, gender, and age influence officers' and community members' evaluations of police-civilian encounters along dimensions of resistance, disrespect, and the appropriate use of force. It also examines whether perceptions of resistance and disrespect mediate the relationship between civilian characteristics and police use of force. Overall, this study provides the beginning of a much-needed line of research investigating the role of civilian characteristics on perceptions of resistance and disrespect and judgments about use of force. The findings produced here suggest that officers make decisions about the appropriate amount and necessity of force in different ways as a function of varying characteristics such as race, gender, and age, and that the intersection of those different identities has the potential to produce adverse outcomes during police-civilian encounters. The implications of these findings include the need to evaluate current use-of-force training and policies in place within police agencies. Research suggests that civilian characteristics such as race, gender, and age may influence use of force decisions by police. our-hundred thirty police officers and 571 community members participated in this study.

Date Published: January 1, 2019