Police use of force is always a subject of concern by the public. As it should be. In a democratic society the police have enormous power to take a person into custody against their will and use force to accomplish that end. We are often handicapped by the public perception, fueled by television and movies, that police use force more often than we actually do.
One of the metrics we use to evaluate ourselves is to collect data on our use of force and evaluate the findings. As standard policy, all incidents that require the use force or the threat of force are subjected to an administrative review. The purpose of this review is to ensure compliance with Departmental policies and to identify training needs. All 2010 incidents requiring the use of force were found to be within compliance of Department policies and procedures.
Auburn Hills’ officers arrested or issued a misdemeanor summons in 1,924 incidents in 2010, an increase of 5.89% over 2009 arrests. Of these 1,924 arrests, some level of force beyond normal handcuffing was required during 19 incidents. While the number of actual incidents requiring the use of force stayed the same as 2009, the percentage of incidents requiring force decreased slightly from 1.03 % in 2009 to .99% in 2010.
The table below lists data collected from the 19 incidents where force was used during 2010 arrests.
|Average Age of Offender||29.76 years||youngest 16||Oldest – 50|
|Gender||17 Male||4 Female||_|
|Felony / Misdemeanor / Mental||11 Felony||4 Misdemeanor||4 Mental Commitment|
|Shift||Mids- 5 Incidents||Days- 7 Incidents||Noons- 7 Incidents|
|Alcohol or Drug Use||11 of 19 Incidents||57.89% of Incidents||_|
|Initial Contact||13 Dispatched||3 Found on Patrol||3 Other|
|Injuries||2 of the 21 suspects received minor injuries during arrest; scratches or minor abrasions.||1 officer was injured during an arrest; bitten by suspect||_|
I think this is very interesting information. It puts us right about the average nationally of force use by police which is 1.6%. If it was substantially higher or lower, I would examine it further to determine what it might be telling us. We might need to revise our policies or training to meet unforeseen trends. Despite the fact that it is right around 1% of what we do, we expend big resources to train around the issue. One of the ways we can keep that number low is by making sure that officers are confident in their ability to handle any incident without having to escalate force use to an unacceptable level in order to accomplish the job. We train each officer and detective in 40 hours of Use of Force training every year that includes the state mandated firearms qualification standard; ground fighting; electromagnetic control device (TASER); handcuffing; high risk traffic stops and other aspects. We always inject an ethical facet to the training to elevate the thinking of our officers around their actions and what we believe they should do when confronted with ethical challenges. It is always very positively received by our staff.
Just another method of making sure that our public contacts meet our department’s mission and values.
Thanks to Lt. Jim Manning who put these statistics together.