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Emerging Use of Force Issues: Balancing Public and Officer Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2012
40 pages
This report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police examines emerging use of force issues by law enforcement agencies.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services held a symposium to correct the misperception held by the general public regarding excessive police use of force. This report contains a summary of the discussions held at the Use of Force Symposium that included the following topics: current use of force issues and concerns of law enforcement leaders; use of force policy and training advancement over the past 5 years; recent use of force incidents or issues that have affected law enforcement approach to use-of-force; use of force litigation and risk management from a local agency perspective; new and emerging research on use of force at the university and law enforcement level; and concerns about use of force that merit further exploration and investigation. The topics were divided into three groups: pre-incident, at-point-of-incident, and post-incident. The symposium's participants also developed a set of recommendations for further action dealing with use of force issues. These recommendations include the development of a model communications strategy for law enforcement on the topic of use of force; development of a national media guide to inform the public regarding the necessity to use appropriate force in furtherance of public safety; development of a sustainable online resource library detailing programs and summaries of approaches that have proven to build better relationships between police and their communities; proposed national use of force reporting standards; the collection of data to conduct annual national use of force analysis; evaluations of use of force issues for mid-size and small police agencies; charging a single government sponsored entity with responsibility for disseminating real-time data describing violence directed at police; develop and fund a use of force management institute for police leaders; and develop use of force management publications for city/town or municipal leaders.