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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.225) Conclusion
Evaluating Police Uses of Force

Seth W. Stoughton

Jeffrey J. Noble

Geoffrey P. Alpert

NYU Press

Once the analytical frameworks that can be used to evaluate police uses of force are firmly understood, it is appropriate to question the propriety of those frameworks as they currently exist. In light of the wide variation that can exist between state laws and agency policies, policy makers, police leaders, and academics should take an active approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each evaluative standard. The authors conclude by identifying three common flaws and suggesting corresponding corrections. First, the tendency to evaluate a use of force by looking only at the moment in which force was used artificially limits scope of review, omitting from consideration the varied and important ways in which events that precede the use of force can affect the ultimate outcome. Second, the traditional approach of focusing on a subject’s resistance overlooks the fact that such actions are merely a proxy for what actually matters in use-of-force situations: the nature and extent of a threat to a defined governmental interest. Third, while this book is concerned with evaluating individual uses of force, it acknowledges the need for more informed analysis of police violence in the aggregate, which require data that are not currently available.

Keywords:   evaluative standards, governmental interests, police policies, police leaders, police uses of force, police violence, policy makers, state laws

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