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Police Use of Force In America

NCJ Number
Date Published
76 pages
This document presents findings from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) National Police Use of Force Database.
This database is the first substantial aggregation of State, county, and local law enforcement use of force data. Information is based on years 1991 to 2000 representing a composite population of 149,940,551; 45,913,161 calls for service (CFS); 177,215 use of force incidents; and 8,082 use of force complaints. Data for 1999 showed that police used force at a rate of 3.61 times per 10,000 calls for service. From 1999-2000, physical force was the most common force used by officers, followed by chemical force and then impact. The use of chemical force, primarily OC products (pepper spray) was greater than the combined totals for electronic, impact, and firearm force. Data from years 1995 and 2000 show that the ratio between the frequency of physical force incidents to chemical force incidents was about 13 to 1, while the ratio between physical and firearm was 16 to 1. Between 1999 and 2000, the ratio of physical to chemical was about 2 to 1, while the ratio of physical to firearm was about 22 to 1. As officer use of chemical force has increased, firearm use has decreased. Arrests were the most frequent circumstances of use of force in data years 1999 to 2000. From 1995 to 2000, there were 8,148 reported incidents in which the contributors included racial descriptors for both the involved officers and subjects. Subject intoxication appeared to be a substantial predictor of police use of force during traffic stops. Intoxicated drivers were almost three times as likely to engage officers in use of force other than physical, chemical, electronic, impact or firearm, than subjects that were either not intoxicated or whose state of intoxication was unknown. Between 1999 and 2000, 3,577 incidents were reported that included data on force-related officer injuries. Eighty-seven percent of officers suffered no injuries from their encounters, 12 percent reported minor injuries, and less than 1 percent reported major injuries. Subject injury outcomes were reported for 2,427 incidents between 1999 and 2000.