Police Use of Force: Detectives in an Urban Police Department

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detectives, patrol officers, force factor, subject resistance, use of force

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This research focuses on a seldom-studied police officer subgroup: detectives. Although detectives and patrol officers possess similar authority in terms of effecting arrests and using force in performing their duties, there are differences in operational responsibilities between these groups. These differences might contribute to variations in force use in encounters with the public. The data in this study are derived from an urban police department’s use of force reports for the year 2000. The frequency and types of force used and the resistance encountered by detectives are identified and then compared to patrol officers in this department. Although the results are mixed, some findings indicate that detectives use higher force levels than patrol officers, even though there is no significant difference in exposure to resistance levels. This result is unexpected and raises further questions about how role differences between detectives and patrol officers affect their respective applications of force.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Criminal Justice Review, v. 31, issue 3, p. 213-229