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Evaluating Police Uses of Force$
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Seth W. Stoughton, Jeffrey J. Noble, and Geoffrey P. Alpert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479814657

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479814657.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Evaluating Police Uses of Force

Seth W. Stoughton

Jeffrey J. Noble

Geoffrey P. Alpert

NYU Press

The use of force is inherent in and inseparable from modern policing, but police violence has proven to be a challenging and divisive social issue. Officers could not fulfil their public duties without the authority to use force, but community trust and confidence in the police is undermined by the perception that they are doing so unnecessarily, too frequently, or in problematically disparate ways. This book poses and responds to a question that is central to police accountability, but has largely evaded academic scrutiny: how does society evaluate the propriety of an officer’s use of force? It offers four different answers to that question, exploring in depth the rules set by constitutional law, state laws, agency policies, and community expectations. It goes on to provide critical information about police tactics and force options to allow for the accurate application of those analytical frameworks.

Keywords:   police accountability, police uses of force, police violence, public attitudes

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