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


This research builds on three decades of effort to produce national estimates of the amount and rate of force used by law enforcement officers in the United States. Prior efforts to produce national estimates have suffered from poor and inconsistent measurements of force, small and unrepresentative samples, low survey and/or item response rates, and disparate reporting of rates of force. The present study employs data from a nationally representative survey of state and local law enforcement agencies that has a high survey response rate as well as a relatively high rate of reporting uses of force. Using data on arrests for violent offenses and the number of sworn officers to impute missing data on uses of force, we estimate a total of 337,590 use of physical force incidents among State and local law enforcement agencies during 2012 with a 95 percent confidence interval of +/- 10,470 incidents or +/- 3.1 percent. This article reports the extent to which the number and rate of force incidents vary by the type and size of law enforcement agencies. Our findings demonstrate the willingness of a large proportion of law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report the amount of force used by their officers and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) program to produce nationally representative information about police behavior.


Copyright: © 2018 Garner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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