Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date

Fall 2012


Law enforcement -- United States -- Statistics, Arrest (Police methods), Police -- Attitudes


Our research led to 22 articles with information relevant to the subject of police use of force. The studies explored a variety of topics, ranging from media coverage of force to characteristics of deadly force encounters and many issues in between. The information presented below is a summary of the most significant and useful data gathered from these studies. The material has been divided into five categories: Definitions and Prevalence, Suspects (those who experience force), Officers (those who use force), Patterns of the practice, and Implications, which include best practices or prevention over abuse. The “Definitions and Prevalence” section provides a basic overview of what we are talking about with “use of force” and related topics, as well as the prevalence of such actions. The “Suspects” section identifies information pertaining to the suspects involved in use of force incidents, including demographics and behavior during the encounter. The “Officers” section details information about a police officer’s use of force, including demographics, records and circumstances surrounding a force incident. The “Patterns” section features information about the types of force used as well as the time and space in which such incidents typically occur. The “Implications” section offers advice for organizational policy as well as operational tactics based on research results. A summary of the most applicable research on officer use of force will be delivered in the report.


Portland State University, Fall 2012 - Criminology and Criminal Justice Senior Capstone Class:

Antonio Alcantar, Kristine Allen, Jeffrey Baker, Dylan Bartram, James Brown, Zoe Brown, Mary Cervantez, Brandon Cox, Amy DeFoe, Andrea Dorris, Molly Entenman, Keith Gammon, Shannon Grove, Deborah Heckhausen, Jason Holland, Jessica Jackson, Anthony Johnson, Brittany Leonard, Natalie Marquez, Tyler Perkins, Jon Petrowski, Rachel Searle, Teresa Sellem, Julie Shurts, Diane Strandberg, Hal Waldram, Davina Weigant and James Wheaton

Persistent Identifier