Early Intervention Program Criteria: Evaluating Officer Use of Force

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While the use of force reports is a common performance indicator in police early intervention programs, simply tracking the number these reports fails to appropriately identify problematic officers. We explore this concern by determining whether frequency and intensity of force use relative to resistance (as indicated by number of use‐of‐force reports submitted) and officer force factor values are good predictors of an officer's identification by such a system. Results from logistic regression analysis found both frequency and intensity to be significant predictors, although interestingly the force factor value results were opposite the expected direction. Officers who used lower levels of force to handle higher levels of resistance were more likely to qualify under the early intervention program. Conversely, none of the officers whose force factor values reflected a tendency to use higher force levels than called for by resistance encountered were identified by the department's system. These results provide empirical support for the position that monitoring officer misconduct by the number of use of force reports filed can fail to identify problematic officers, and falsely identify non‐problematic officers.

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Justice Quarterly, v. 26, issue 1, p. 107-124