An Overview of Police Use of Force Policies and Research
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
Local police are expected to use the least amount of force necessary against citizens, both in self-defense and in defense of others. Although relatively rare, many incidents of excessive, and even lethal, force used by police have been documented, particularly in situations involving people of color. Specifically, Black Americans are more likely to be killed during a police encounter than White Americans. The public has called for further investigation, data collection, and research on police use of force. This literature review provides an overview of theories on why police use of force occurs. Theories are based on officer characteristics, types of situations, organizational norms, and police policies and procedures. The review includes data and research on use of force including disparities in its use.