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Use of Force

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Top Medical Experts Explore Safety of Vascular Neck Restraints. Will Their Findings Matter?

Editor’s Note: The full study is available here – Safety of Vascular Neck Restraint Applied by Law Enforcement Officers In 2021 federal politicians concluded that both chokeholds and carotid restraints – also known as vascular neck restraints (VNR) — were inherently dangerous and had “too often led to tragedy.” With this pronouncement, federal law enforcement...
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New Study: Stress, Training, and the Objective Reasonableness Standard

It is well-settled that a police officer’s use of force must be reasonable.  It is equally well-established that reasonableness is to be judged from the perspective of the officer on the scene.  This “on scene” perspective properly requires agencies and courts to consider the influences that emotional arousal and stressors, like time compression, may have...
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I’m Right. You’re Wrong: Naïve Realism in Force Reviews

You’re teaching your child to tie their shoes for the first time. With your parent’s help, you’ve long since mastered the task—you were a brilliant, model student. Now it’s your turn. With your clear, expert instructions, your child will understand and perform flawlessly. For good measure, you repeat your instructions, your child nodding in agreement....
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Watching Video Evidence Before Providing a Use of Force Statement

(Editor’s note 3/28/2022: This article was edited to acknowledge the competing approaches to video review during use of force investigations, update citations, and clarify the IACP’s 2014 model policy language and position paper. Force Science recognizes that the memory-enhancing value of watching videos must be balanced against the risk of memory corruption and the need...
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New Study: Excited Delirium, Injury, and Use of Force

A new study led by Simon Baldwin1 examined over 10,700 use of force cases and found a significant risk of adverse outcomes in cases involving excited delirium syndrome (ExDS).2 Researchers assumed that an encounter with someone exhibiting probable ExDS might result in adverse outcomes, including greater levels of force and increased risk of injury to...
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“Progressive” Police-Reform

Where civic leaders embrace “progressive reforms,” such as “equity,” “social justice,” and the “dismantling of systemic racism,” it is no longer obvious that the training, education, and experience of police officers will play a central role.
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Dr. Lewinski: On Creating Expert Decision-makers

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, sees clearly the “clinical” nature of law enforcement and the need for excellent decision-making: “The police world is just like other clinical professions. Officers must engage in educated assessments, decisions, and interventions.” Dr. Lewinski explained: “Before the police act, before any intervention, there is a...
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Realistic De-Escalation: Balancing Risk

(Part 2a) After 30 years of crisis counseling, de-escalation, negotiation, and persuasion, I’m convinced few things require as much skill as talking dangerous people into handcuffs. But, regardless of an officer’s skill, when the risk of delay is too great, there may be no time for de-escalation. In those cases, if an officer uses force,...
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Magnitude and Duration: How Science Measures Use of Force from BodyCam Video

Editor’s Note: Knowing how hard an officer hit somebody with a baton and for how long can be critical questions in a use of force case. Join Dr. Geoffrey Desmoulin, a Certified Force Science Analyst and Principal of GTD Scientific Inc., as he describes how Force Science studies and GTD tactical baton research were applied...
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You Don’t Have to Shoot First; But You Better Do Something!

“The officer should have waited until he actually saw the suspect’s gun. If the suspect tried to shoot him, he could have shot first.” Anonymous The above quote didn’t come from an angry anti-police protestor or a biased civil rights attorney.  It came from a police legal advisor.  It came from an intelligent, civic-minded, pro-police...
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