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Test of Lundman's Organizational Product Thesis with Data on Citizen Complaints

NCJ Number
Policing Volume: 23 Issue: 3 Dated: 2000 Pages: 356-373
Date Published
18 pages

Applying Lundman's organizational product thesis in explaining citizen complaints against police use of excessive physical force, the current study tested several hypotheses with a national data set.


Information was obtained from municipal police departments in the United States. The complaint rate per 100 sworn police officers was calculated using the total number of citizen complaints about excessive, undue, or unnecessary use of physical force in 1991 to provide a standardized estimate for each police department. Independent study variables included civilian review board, education, race, gender, length of service, pre-service psychological examination, field training officer program, in-service training, regular reviews, reporting to supervisors, less-than-lethal policy, and reporting requirement. Results demonstrated both organizational behavior and organizational characteristics were important covariates of the complaint rate against police use of excessive physical force. Although generalization of the results was limited, it was determined police departments should actively recruit more mature persons into the police force, reinforce field training officer programs, and continually provide more in-service training programs if they are serious in reducing citizen complaints. 57 references, 5 notes, and 3 tables

Date Published: January 1, 2000