Its data covers all situations in which a police officer uses force, including police shootings, pepper spraying, baton usage, punching, forceful takedowns, and other incidences of suspected violent behavior. The database includes information on each incident along with relevant details about the officer, the subject, and the circumstances leading up to the use of force.
There are more than 10,000 incidents included in the database, which dates back to 2004. Each case is investigated by a department-level team that includes at least one officer who was present during the use of force. All officers involved in an incident will be asked to complete an online questionnaire within 60 days of the event. They can also submit supplemental reports or photographs via email. Officers are offered career counseling and additional training as well as financial compensation for participating in the study.
The database provides important information about how often different types of force are used by officers across the country. It also offers insight into how these events affect subjects physically and psychologically moving forward. For example, researchers have used the data to examine factors such as gender differences in police use of force and racial disparities in policing.
Police departments across the United States participate in this research project by submitting use-of-force reports directly from their own records.
All relevant information about the incident must be included in the police use of force report. The record should specifically clarify what force was employed and identify any escalation of force. Police officers are supposed to use the least amount of force necessary to get cooperation. However, sometimes they may have to use more forceful methods such as pepper spray, stun guns, or firearms.
The use of force report is an important document for evaluating officer conduct and ensuring that appropriate action is taken if there are findings of policy violations. It also provides evidence when making employment decisions, such as promotions, transfers, or disciplinary actions.
The use of force report is different from other reports used by the department. For example, officers are required to complete incident reports anytime they make an arrest or witness a crime, even if no force is used. These reports contain information about the incident including the person being arrested or interviewed by investigators. Officers are also required to complete regular use of force reports whenever they physically employ force during an encounter with another citizen.
Use of force reports should be completed immediately after an incident has been witnessed or occurred. However, in some cases where it is not possible to complete the report immediately, it can be done as soon as possible thereafter. For example, if someone has been injured during the incident, they may need medical attention first before the use of force report can be completed.
Officers employ physical force to seize control of a situation. To detain a person, officers employ soft techniques such as grabs, grips, and joint locks. Officers employ hard methods to restrain a person, such as punches and kicks. Physical force can be used to prevent someone from causing harm to themselves or others.
Force is one of four principles of policing listed by the International Police Organization (IPOL). The other three are: intelligence, which includes investigating crimes committed and gathering information about suspects without harming them directly; authority, which refers to commands given by supervisors to their subordinates to perform tasks or refrain from certain activities; and cooperation, which means working with other agencies within the community to solve problems and make arrests.
The need for police to use force arises when there is a risk to life that requires immediate action to prevent further injury or death. For example, an officer might use force when confronting an armed suspect because doing so prevents possible harm to the officer or others. Or, an officer may use force when taking someone into custody because preventing resistance ensures no injuries occur during transport.
When deciding how much force is necessary, officers must consider the totality of circumstances surrounding each case.