Use of Force Training, Complaints, and Citizen View of Law Enforcers

Posted on: 13th May 2023


Crim 170 Final Project: Research Proposal

Paper Requirements: This paper should be approximately 10-15 pages in length with at least 6-7 pages of the paper consisting of the “Literature Review” portion and the “Methods” section comprising the second majority of the paper. Utilize APA guidance for font. 

This paper should include the following sections: 

Introduction: The introduction will typically encompass 1-2 pages and will introduce your proposed research. The introduction should include a background of the issue you are researching and some context for your proposal. Discuss who would be interested in your research? Would it be applicable for other researchers? Policy makers? Law Enforcement? Why would they be interested in this area? Why is this research important? How does it add to the field?

Research Question: This section should only identify the research question you intend to study. It needs to match the question you selected and was approved at the beginning of the semester.

For this paper, I chose to organize my paper thematically. My research proposal will focus on the following research questions that I intend to study:  

1)  How does the use of force training affect citizen or officer perceptions of police encounters? 

2)  What is the impact of citizen complaints? 

3)  What types of incidents or situations are most amendable to use of force training?


Literature Review: The Literature Review will identify what previous research has uncovered.

Methods: The Methods section will identify the type of study you are proposing, and the type of analysis you wish to use. A helpful resource for the methods section can be found here: n_


Works Cited: The Works Cited should be completed using the APA style formatting. It should include at least 7 current articles (published within the last 7 years). The Works Cited is not included in the page count. 

You may want to ask “How Do I Find Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles?” and that is a great question! Try the Henry Madden Library website:  

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Use of Force Training, Complaints, and Citizen View of Law Enforcers

Armed law enforcement professionals confront a wide range of situations in their professions when it is necessary to use force. This includes situations such as making arrests, restraints of belligerent combatants, or suppressing a disruptive protest. In addition, it may lead to public attention if excessive force is used by police officers in situations when it would be unjustifiable (Reemst & Fischer, 2016). As a result, the media, politicians, and, in some instances, civil and criminal courts routinely pay attention to incidents in which police officers use excessive force.

The use of physical force by cops in a circumstance As a result of the heightened scrutiny, the endeavor to understand the situations in which police employ forcible restraint has intensified. The proposed study has been presented to help police officers and officials make informed decisions about minimizing the number of use-of-force events. Increasingly, police departments are incorporating Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) development programs into their academic curriculum to lessen the possibility that officers may use force against citizens who have mental health issues (Zhao & Ren, 2016). However, the police remain the state’s principal agent of aggressive power. Therefore, law enforcement officers anticipate a moderate level of force during an arrest based on current conditions. Additionally, police personnel can use reasonable force to defend themselves and others from danger when required.

Undeniably, there is an essential but little-discussed question in the literature on the use of force: Citizen impressions of police interactions may be influenced by police officers’ training in force. Do citizen complaints have an effect? Does a significant section of the public object to police use a relative force legally justifiable provided stringent qualifications, preparation, and permissible rules that police personnel operate? However, there is a disagreement between the legal police procedure and the public expectation of police use of force.

Literature Review

Police brutality has been the subject of past research. Existing research on this issue is being evaluated in retrospect by the general public, with most studies focusing on the race and gender of people engaged. Misinformation and hyperbole have flourished due to the public’s reluctance to let go of the information they need (Shjarback, 2015). No one wants to take a position since there are troubling events on both sides of the argument.

Demonstrators from outside the local region sometimes react to the chance to criticize police action without having any fundamental knowledge of the awful events that have taken place. However, although some demonstrators have good intentions, others are our democracy. Many instances of looting, burning, and inciting more rioting during peaceful protests began as peaceful protests themselves (Lee, Vaughn, & Lim, 2015). If the officer’s identity is made public, the neighborhood or city often receives death threats.

The profession of policing has undergone significant change from its beginnings to preserve the property of a very rich Englishman. Private sector ideals replaced the community policing ideology with Sir Robert Peel’s nine ethical policing principles (Reemst & Fischer, 2016). The theory of community policing is said to be based on this idealism.

There is a tendency to replace proactive and community-oriented activities with reactive and excluding ones. De-policing, in part, has come about as a consequence of public skepticism and a public refusal to accept law enforcement’s right to due process. Political leaders and activists have publicly chastised the police profession even before the specifics of the critical incident have been made public (Shim & Hoover, 2015). The public’s mistrust has only grown due to the government’s unwillingness to be open and provide essential facts.

Survival has been a common incentive, yet it is seldom discussed outside the law enforcement community. According to Lee, Vaughn, and Lim (2015), the John Wayne syndrome is a byproduct of police service and its associated closed culture. Cynicism and authoritarianism in the form of masculinity hinder simple rationality from being viewed as a proponent of what is to come. Closed policy enforcement cultures have a lot of this mentality.

Under stressful circumstances, police officers use their occupational discretion. Research on how officers react to threats would be necessary to understand why police behave as they do in protests and other criticizing situations. FBI (2017) notes that Real Street cops perceive risk as a part of their job. Potential risks are prevalent in the line of duty, and one has to utilize professional training (Zhao & Ren, 2016). These abilities and approaches typically engage teamwork, enhancing the connection between the professions.

Lee, Vaughn, and Lim (2015) Police officers face assassinations every year in the police community. When police officers get killed while doing their duties, it horrifies the public. However, many of these tragedies get overshadowed by conflicting societal objectives. Unfortunately, the number of police officer killings from felonious ambush has increased over the last ten years and was ranked the second leading cause of cop deaths in 2012 (Shjarback, 2015). When it comes to law enforcement officers’ fatalities on the job, automobile accidents remain the leading cause, followed by firearms-related violence. However, ambush scenarios may be orchestrated, deliberate, or an act of chance, as is generally described.

Adams and Mastracci (2018) conducted a case study to identify geographical risk variables for police assault and injuries. More than 40 attacks on law enforcers were conducted by suspects fewer than 10 feet away. Therefore, if people ask for help, they would want to be at least a few feet away from an officer to ensure that they can respond quickly and effectively. In addition, it was shown that the deadliest ambush on cops resulted in officers’ deaths. 

On the other hand, Shjarback’s (2015) evaluation of how real street cop sees violence risk. Strong regard for human life pervades the police culture, and as a result, officers are trained to use lethal force only as a last option. Reemst and Fischer (2016) note that a person must have some life experience to handle their psychological processes during a crisis. Veteran cops frequently have the chance to replay particular events and gain knowledge and the ability to adjust their actions based on prior results.

In many cases, police officers will use lethal force even if there is no immediate danger to themselves. To an observer, this concept would seem commendable. Still, it had been a significant hindrance to a researcher due to the officer’s responsibility to defend society from dangerous offenders, hence required to apply lethal force in some instances (FBI, 2017). As long as there exists no direct threat to the officer, this hesitancy would not endanger them. 

Additionally, various additional factors influence police brutality. There is a correlation between disobedience to police directives, possession of a potentially lethal weapon, and a hostile disposition in subjects. According to Zhao and Ren (2016), in a new study, these motivators may influence officers’ use of force. Aside from these, some additional factors might help forecast whether or not a crime will be committed. Bad firearm handling practices are an often-overlooked indicator. Teachers believe that gun handling abilities are repetitious and need a thorough grasp of terminology and function. Gun-handling skills are prone to deterioration, and many are unintentional.

Examining Police Use of Force Guidelines to Make Sure They Meet Legal Standards

The Supreme Court decision Graham v. Connor is the most crucial legal factor for police personnel accused of excessive force (Mourtgos, Mayer, Wise, & O-Rourke, 2019). The Supreme Court provided a fractional list of the considerations to consider when assessing whether or not police applying force is legally justifiable. According to the court’s guidelines, law enforcement should use force when facing danger and need self-defense or to save other officers (Schwartz, 2016). However, the police have limited time to decide how much force is necessary for complex, unpredictable, and fast shifting situations. Therefore, the question of reasonableness has to be applied. As per Graham’s concept, officers are not obligated to employ less invasive force when such force is justified by the Fourth Amendment (Shim & Hoover, 2015). Forcing police to identify and pick the least invasive option would compel them to exhibit superhuman judgment in many cases, according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Legally, the Graham theory explains reasonableness in terms of objective judgment. So long as we consider that any reasonable officer on the scene would have reached a similar conclusion, people may consider this judgment objective (Zhao & Ran., 2016). While Graham does not eliminate all subjectivity from human evaluation, the decision provides an outline for assessing the law enforcer’s actions depending on the scenario in which the officer finds himself rather than the subjective intent or motive of the officer.

Officers of the Law Involved in Misconduct

Dishonesty by police officers harms their capacity to carry out their duties and preserve public confidence, and it weakens the reliability of their agency. Discipline in the police force is primarily intended to deter future misconduct. The primary purpose of EIS is to utilize existing data to avoid the recurrence of police wrongdoing by officers who have already been detected (Reemst & Fischer, 2016). Statistics from a significant law enforcement division in the United States showed that police who got hefty punishments were more likely to face subsequent persistent complaints.

In the long run, police wrongdoing undermines public trust and diminishes their authority. While examining the efficiency of EIS with UOF misbehavior, previous EIS records are utilized in a non-intrusive way to respect police officers’ privacy (FBI, 2017). For EIS to positively impact, officials must see it as applicable. Using EIS data to identify complaint characteristics and prevent crime is a critical component of community policing (Chiaramonte, 2015). EIS files connected to other databases may also be used for public policing and teaching. Police officers have a higher chance of engaging in misconduct if they find EIS unjust.

Deterrence can also be found in an employee, support services, and risk assessment programs, which have been shown to assist people and change ill workplace behaviors. Both police and the general public benefit from the programs. The development of community and police partnerships helps reduce police misbehavior and promotes reform initiatives that benefit officers and citizens (Reemst & Fischer, 2016). Using UOF by police has become less suitable as the times have progressed.

Early Intervention 

EIS is a system applied by the police department to gather, capture, and evaluate records on police officer misconduct. The size, location, and jurisdiction of the more than 12,000 agencies all have a role in determining the amount of money, personnel, and technology available (Adams & Mastracci, 2018). In addition, decentralization and standardization of EIS data make it challenging to undertake the rigorous scientific examination.

 Use of Force EIS analysis that is thorough and extrapolative. In reviewing numerous police groups in the US, the current EIS would be inadequate to pinpoint at-risk cops. Police officer behavior changes and interventions at major agencies have received the most attention from academics (Chiaramonte, 2015). Nevertheless, smaller organizations with fewer resources may implement a formal early warning system using models tailored to their specific requirements and capabilities (Mourtgos, Mayer, Wise, & O-Rourke, 2019). It is possible to tailor the categories, time ranges, and actions to match each organization’s specific requirements.

EIS flag cops that have been caught on camera abusing their authority. A blunder may occur even under the most acceptable conditions. As a result, the system does not allow for officer discretion or the specifics of a given scenario. As a result, the cops are often violators and those engaged in the most severe infractions (Mourtgos, Mayer, Wise, & O-Rourke, 2019). Labeling is compatible with the phrase problem officer, which describes a condition of being troublesome. Officers with performance issues communicate that training may help them better and fix their mistakes.

Use of Force

The officer’s safety, the safety of others, and the understanding of suspects are all served by UOF. UOF has yet to have a standardized definition approved by the government. In the case of occurrences involving excessive force by police officers or situations involving police involvement, such as shootings. Complaints per 100 sworn police officers in major agencies were 6.7 complaints per 100 (FBI, 2017). Disciplinary action might be taken against the officers in 9 percent of these incidents.

Additionally, with further study, EIS indications of high UOF may be more helpful in identifying police violations and predicting police wrongdoing. Much research has been conducted on the aspects that influence or characterize police misconduct (Reemst & Fischer, 2016). However, data from an EIS data set correlate significantly with police decision-making, indicating that additional research into EIS data is needed.

Training and Complaints

All law enforcement officials are required to undergo regular training. In addition to education, training is linked to studies and the incidence of the application of illegal force. The number of public complaints about using force may be lower in departments with frequent training. Research on law enforcement training has been lacking. EIS data collection and analysis may include officers with more public complaints because of their increased productivity (Adams & Mastracci, 2018). Data from the research show a deep connection between the types of actions taken by an officer, the circumstances they were placed, and the types of citizen complaints. It is common for UOF students to file grievances, and those shown to be true might result in expensive legal bills, extra training, or even changes to current regulations (Wood, Tyler, & Papachristos, 2020). Fear of reprisal or shame may prevent members of certain groups from coming forward with allegations of wrongdoing. Coercive tactics are seldom documented or disseminated in American police organizations. A compilation of existing historical data presents a data mining opportunity that might lead to fresh insights into the issue of citizens’ concerns.

Race and Minority Ethnicity 

Ethnicity is often investigated when assessing the excessive application of force and incident judgments. The people of color have a more undesirable perspective than whites do of law enforcers and how they employ force (Zhao & Ren, 2016). Well-known and well-documented anti-minority beliefs are commonly rooted in racial discrimination perpetrated by the police, which dates back to slavery to more than a century in the history of the United States.

Research Methods


This research project will adopt a non-experimental design because of the risks and ethical difficulties of manipulating variables in a simple experimental design. Unlike practical techniques, no experimental methods lack the variables, randomization, treatment, and control features present in testing procedures. For example, any of the three categories of police trainers might compare and contrast the influence of public views of attitudes toward various aspects of the first responder profession. When doing a comparative descriptive research study, a non-experimental design is regarded as advantageous since it avoids the possibility of an ethical issue. Non-experimental designs describe, forecast, or explain something without using experimental methods. Three categories may describe and define a phenomenon and forecast other variables that may arise in the research.

The study will utilize contingency tables to show how the variables are interconnected. The chi-square would be used to test the hypothesis that incidence was predicted. Using chi-squared multiple regressions, we may test ideas and estimate the magnitude of effects. It is possible to get the mean square by using a more robust test strategy for the various variables.

A calendar will be set up when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and reporting. SPSS software will be used to analyze the data for this study. Data from secondary sources would be used. To address the study questions and evaluate the hypotheses, EIS databases of UOF information will be used. A limited amount of time and resources may be used to gain expertise and improve EIS data output using secondary data sets.

Collection of Data

Source of Samples and Data

In addressing concerns of accountability and openness, law enforcement authorities publish data via various websites. There is a slew of national websites that disseminate information on police enforcement. This research will use secondary data available on the PDI website as our primary data set. Data from PDI may be used by academics, technologists, and law enforcement authorities alike. This research will focus on an agency in the Midwestern United States. More than 700,000 people live in 400 square kilometers served by 1,500 officers of this organization.

It will take roughly two weeks from data collection to the analysis time utilizing baseline descriptive information. The total number of complaints from UOF citizens would be considered. Comparing the UOF concerns to other complaints would be done. A study’s dataset would be limited because of baseless allegations and cops who did not break the law. 


Maintaining law and order is a difficult job in most democratic countries. Law enforcers and their supervisors have a tough time enforcing the law because of the conflict between legal standards and the changing and often legally incorrect public expectations. Reducing excessive force and keeping police responsible for their actions is essential to the professionalization of law and order officers in the United States. However, this set of objectives matches normative objectives already in existence throughout most of the nation. The results on citizen attitude development would reveal an increasing gap between legislative frameworks, professional rules of conduct, and the public about officers’ use of force. To close the gap between law and society expectations and objectives, a growing public program concern is required.



Adams, I., & Mastracci, S. (2018). Police body-worn cameras: Effects on officers’ burnout and perceived organizational support. Police quarterly, online edition: Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from

Chiaramonte, P. (2015, February 15). Shoot or don’t shoot: Police scenarios prove eye-opening for civil rights leaders. Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from Retrieved from

FBI. (2017). Retrieved from Law enforcement officers killed and assaulted 2016: Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from

Lee, H., Vaughn, M. S., & Lim, H. (2015). The impact of neighborhood crime levels on police use of force: An examination at micro and meso levels. Journal of Criminal Justice, 42, 491-499. Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from

Mourtgos, S. M., Mayer, R. C., Wise, R. A., & O-Rourke, H. (2019). The overlooked perspective of police trust in the public: Measurement and effects on police job behaviors. Criminal Justice Policy Review.0887403419851850.

Reemst, L. V., & Fischer, T. F. (2016). Experiencing external workplace violence: differences in indicators between three types of emergency responders. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-26.Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from

Schwartz, J. C. (2016). How Governments Pay: Lawsuits, Budgets, and Police Reform. University of California Los Angeles Law Review, 63, 1144. Retrieved from http://search-ebscohost-

Shim, H. S., Jo, Y., & Hoover, L. T. (2015, July 9, 2015). Police transformational leadership and organizational commitment. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 38(4), 754-774. Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from 10.1108/PIJPSM-05-2015-0066

Shjarback, J. A. (2015). “Emerging early intervention systems: An agency-specific prepost comparison of formal citizen complaints of use of force.” Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 9.4, 314-325. Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from doi:10.1093/police/pav006.

Wood, G., Tyler, T. R., & Papachristos, A. V. (2020). Procedural justice training reduces police use of force and complaints against officers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences117(18), 9815-9821. Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from

Zhao, J., & Ren, L. (2016). Exploring the Dimensions of Public Attitudes Toward the Police. Police Quarterly, 18(1), 3–26. Retrieved on April 18, 2022 from Doi: 10.1177/1098611114561304.

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